The Hunger Project joined a massive global awareness and fundraising campaign called Live Below the Line, which challenges thousands of people to live below the global poverty line by spending $1.50 a day on food and beverage for five days. From April 28-May 2, The Hunger Project staff and over 220 Live Below the Line champions spent $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.
The campaign, however, is open to anyone to take on at any time. Fundraising through the Live Below the Line website runs until June 15.
Students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison also took on the challenge as part of a take home exam for Professor Cathy Middlecamp’s Environmental Studies 126 course. The course was offered through the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.
Students were asked to live on $1.50 for food and drink for a minimum of one day, making the integrated nature of poverty, food, development and the environment clear.
Check out what the students had to say about their experience:
“I found myself very lustful of other people’s food around me during the day. Even things I don’t usually find very appealing looked much better to me.”
“I found it very difficult to live on only $1.50 for food for a day. The combination of different items on sale did not make the search too difficult, because at both grocery stores and local restaurants, it was pretty easy to find good deals on breads and noodles. However, if I had been trying to achieve a balanced meal, it would have been much different.”
“During the day, I experienced a lot of stomach growls and I didn’t have very much energy. Throughout the day I drank a lot of water to keep my stomach full. It was hard to see other people eat and not be able to eat myself.”
“Knowing that water is free for me, I decided to just drink water and not waste my money on that, which led me to think about people in other countries that don’t have ready access to water like I do. Drinking water had never felt more like a privilege.”
“I normally am lucky enough to be able to eat however much food I need or want, and rarely think about how much I spend throughout a day just on food, so the mere act of going grocery shopping and having to stop and calculate the daily cost of each item was a major difference in itself. I forced myself. Furthermore, knowing that for many people living on such a diet often found themselves laboring in physically-demanding jobs rather than sitting in the comfort of an air-conditioned vehicle for hours on end was certainly another empathetic moment.”
“When I looked for something to buy for 50 cents, I was shocked to find that nothing in the whole store cost 50 cents or less. That was extremely shocking to me that everything cost at least $1.00. A pack of gum was even more than that.”
“This project has made me extremely aware and concerned about people who live in poverty and have to live on $1.50 a day.”
“The Hunger Project definitely helped me to better understand the difficult situations of others and the sacrifices and hard choices (or lack thereof) many must on a daily basis.
“Even from one day on $1.50, which is the daily reality for so many people, my perspective on food and waste completely changed. In the days since my day on $1.50, I’ve been a lot more conscious about the way I eat and how much food I waste, and have been actively trying to improve each of these.”