Halesowen clergy support refugees through the 'Ration Challenge'

Published: 9th June 2021

Dominic's rations for the ration challengeTwo of our parish priests have committed themselves to spending a week eating only the rations that would be available in a Syrian refugee camp to raise awareness of the plight of the growing number of refugees around the world as well as funds to support refugees. 

Dominic Melville and Katryn Leclézio, both vicars in the Parish of Halas serving Halesowen and Cradley, are taking part in the Ration Challenge.

You can see Katryn opening her ration pack on her Facebook page . It’s not a big box to start with, worryingly light and, when you open it, about half full. It amounts to just over 1,700 calories a day and comes nowhere near five a week, let alone the recommended five a day! 

Katryn said:

“This is an amazing cause. It’s going to be a difficult challenging living on chickpeas, rice and beans and 170g veg and 120g protein for a week, but I’m inspired to know that people’s generosity will help literally hundreds of others!”

Katryn has so far raised around £1,000 which will go to support Syrian refugees in camps in Jordan, where £166 can provide rations to feed a refugee for a whole year.

Together with the £500+ that Dom’s raised, hopefully the Halas clergy will have raised enough for to keep at least ten refugees fed for the year by the time they’re done.  Dominic has been amazed and humbled by the generosity of people’s response. 

He said:

“There's enough about my life that seems too lucky for words. I like my food, I like choosing and cooking it, and I like plenty of it; and I drink tea till it comes out of my ears. But to spend just one week on the meagre rations of the Challenge feels like a small thing to do compared with the need other people live with day by day, year on year. We both realise it really is going to be a challenge: eking out a handful of flour here and half a cup of rice there, wondering how to make the benefit of one tin of kidney beans last the week.” 

The Ration Challenge runs from 13-19 June this year, but it’s an annual event with more information at rationchallenge.org.uk.

Dominic continued:

“It seems quite a lot of people come back and take the challenge again the following year so we’ll have to see if we’re up for it! By all means pray for us as we grapple with our Challenge Week, but we’re not the ones who really need your prayers.  The Syrian war has been running for ten years now, and that’s just one of many.  The need for asylum grows all over the world and Covid only makes the situation of migrants more vulnerable. Churches can be places of welcome in a hostile environment and if challenges like this make us just a bit more sensitive to the pressures our brothers and sisters live with, it can be a sign of our commitment to love, compassion, justice and freedom for the future.  It would be great if there were no need for a ration challenge next year, but there will be.”

It’s not too late to support the cause with your pocket as well as your prayers if you feel moved to! Just go to the rationchallenge.org.uk website and select the “sponsor someone” button.

Page last updated: 10th June 2021 10:32 AM
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