Challenge Stories from Hunger Project’s Live Below the Line Champions

April 30, 2014

lblday1.13resize.nodeThis week (April 28-May 2), The Hunger Project staff and over 200 Live Below the Line champions are spending $1.50 a day on food and beverage for five days to change the way people think about extreme poverty – all while supporting our work in villages worldwide.

Our global staff team is participating under the theme “Community.” Check out our Facebook album for photos of our big group meals.

Stories from our Live Below the Line Champions:

“I am now in my third day and feel great. No headache, hungry but not as bad as it was. And we are now having a heat wave so I’m no longer cold. I, too, am noticing how good my food tastes and savoring every bite. I was out to get a haircut today and came out of the salon around noon and noticed everyone sitting outside eating their lunch and others carrying a lunch they had just purchased. Good smells everywhere. Looked so inviting and I realized that if you Live Below the Line you don’t get to hang out in restaurants and have your food prepared and served to you. I saw a PBS show about happiness awhile back and I remembered the family people in Louisiana who all live within a few miles of each other and eat communally every Sunday with potluck or in the film, freshly caught crab. They did not have a lot but shared what they had.

Nancy Scott, a former Hunger Project Staff Member and current investor. She shared with us, “I had been looking for ways to participate here in the U.S. and I am very happy to have this opportunity to participate and have the experience of being hungry. Very powerful for me.”

“Today (Day 3) has been surprisingly easier – I might dare to say pleasant. After demolishing a couple crates of hard boiled eggs among the seven of us in the office living Below the Line, a colleague was charged with replacing our reserves. Her two-hour commute to coastal New Jersey has finally paid off for us all, in her ability to find eggs for 11 cents!

This means that I was able to consume:
-an egg (11 cents)
-a 1/2 cup of coffee (1.25 cents)
-1/8 cup of almond milk (4.5 cents)

for nearly the same price as the eggs we were eating the past two days.

This obviously raises the question of not only availability of affordable food to low-income families, but also the access to quality, affordable food. Organic, free-range eggs would have set us back 35 cents each, and we all easily gave up our vegetarian mindsets to get as much food as we could afford: on a daily basis I worry about the chemicals I consume because I have the luxury of doing so.”

–Bridget Barry, Latin America and South Asia Program Associate, The Hunger Project

“Day 1 of Live Below the Line complete. For breakfast I had 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (~$0.15), then biked 11 miles (dumb). Lunch was 3/4 a cup of quinoa salad that I made (~$1), spaced throughout the day. Dinner I broke down: a pickle (~$0.58), another tablespoon of peanut butter (~$0.15), and two pieces of toast (~$0.42). That puts me at a total of $2.30. Tomorrow’s gotta be more strategic, less pickle-y, and more peanut buttery!

I probably could have saved more money if I had bought cheaper, less-sustainable, non-organic ingredients. But I refuse to do that for the sake of this project, because I think it’s counterproductive to the entire mission of ending extreme global poverty and creating a world that works for all life. So I will try to Live Below the Line this week, but I vow to attempt it in an environmentally conscientious and sustainable way. I know our brothers and sisters living in these conditions around the world don’t have that option, but I do!”

Connor Spahn, FeelGood World Staff

“Today was my first day this week at the “office” — my local Starbucks where I generally spend about five hours each day, doing emails and calls. I sat down with the manager to ask for her blessing (that got her attention). I showed her the Live Below the Line website and explained that I can’t purchase a single thing they sell without blowing my budget for the day (or the week). I showed her the teabag I brought from home (already used once) and asked if I could get hot water a couple of times in my reusable cup. She said absolutely! I told her I would keep it quiet — I didn’t want to broadcast this to other customers and hurt her business. She ignored me and made a loud announcement to her crew (with all the customers listening), telling them what I was up to and that they would be supporting me with it for the rest of the week! I did tell her there’s no limit on what I can tip them.”

— Jim Goodman, Regional Director, The Hunger Project

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