After the Catastrophe, food and water became scarce. To address the ensuing conflict over resources, governments began to supply free rations to each citizen, no questions asked, once a day. It's become part of the daily grind for everyone to trudge over to the Government Center of their home station to pick up their allotment.
Rations provide an immediate boost to the body, and anyone who is well-fed from rations will find themselves recovering from activity faster.
Due to limited supplies, only one ration per day may be picked up. However, VIPs can have up to 30 days worth of rations saved in the government center.