Monday, May 16, 2011

Living Below The Line

Live Below The Line
As some of you might know, I was recently laid off. In my humble opinion, being unemployed can cause a lot more stress than working at a semi-terrible place. I'll admit to minor breakdowns happening, moments where I think "what will I do when my savings runs out?" Fortunately, I had the foresight to even have savings since I was working in a very unstable industry. So when I heard about Live Below the Line, a challenge to live on $1.50 a day to raise awareness about poverty, I chuckled a little thinking "I am the poor now." But this is extreme poverty, and there are 1.4 billion, yes with a B, living on $1.50 or less a day. That's a quarter of the world's population. Last Thursday and Friday, I took the challenge.

Live Below The Line
Thousands start taking the week-long challenge today and hopefully all will make it to Friday, raising money all along the way. The challenge was started by the Global Poverty Project last year with an inaugural campaign in Australia. This extreme level of poverty obviously causes ripple effects (health, education, etc) to those affected by it. And if you think that it's a developing world problem, 1.5 million children in the US are living at these levels. It's not their problem, it's our problem.

Live Below The Line
Since I was only doing this for two days, I wanted to use groceries I already had. It took a few tries to get my meals below $1.50 since my daily High Fiber Cereal and Vanilla Soy Milk had to stay. I also wanted to eat some nutritious food. I had leftover mushrooms from earlier in the week, some beans, a garlic bulb, and brown rice. A big bowl of this both days, and that was it. Done eating by 3:30 in the afternoon. I'm not going to lie, it was hard. Thursday night I stood for 9 hours helping friends bake cupcakes, and I had to forgo Friday night drinking activities. But it was worth it, I remembered that life could be a lot worse, that a lot of people need to take a step back to remember how fortunate they are, and that the only way extreme poverty will be eradicated is if the top 1% start opening up those pocketbooks.

For more information or to donate to Live Below the Line, click here.


Tara said...

Perhaps this isn't the sort of thing you congratulate someone for, but I just want to say how awesome I think it is that you wanted to give back like this. When I was an undergrad, I participated in an alternative spring break in inner-city Chicago, and one of the things our group challenged ourselves to do was cook dinner for our "family" of four for just $5. It was definitely a change from the way most of us East Coast college kids were used to eating on a daily basis, but really worth it when I thought about the lives of the elementary school children with whom we were interacting every day.

Thanks for sharing--and best of luck in your job situation. I have firsthand experience there as well, and I know it's far from comfortable. :-\

Hungry said...

Sorry to hear about your recent employment status. However, I think it's great that you're challenging yourself to raise awareness of how much we take for granted. Good luck!

EBMJF said...

You rock! I've been following you on Twitter for some time now,and always enjoy reading you.

I've been laid off for over a year now, and its really hard (we budget about $6.00 a day for two of us to eat), especially since I need to change occupations (I was in an unstable industry). My blog is a chronology of this career adventure (the good, and the bad), and that of my band, Mr. Neutron.