Culture & Entertainment

Living on $1.75 a day – below the line

Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Living on $1.75 a day – below the line

If you are looking for the Saturday Afternoon Book Club, click here. Have you heard of the cause “Live Below the Line?” It’s an innovative awareness and fundraising campaign that’s making a difference in the fight against extreme poverty. It’s a movement of passionate people willing to make a difference to people who need it the most. [caption id="attachment_15660" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Sometimes I buy beautiful, delicious croissants for brunch at the bakery and serve them to my guests. But at almost $3  a pop, there’s none of that for people living on $1.75 a day.[/caption]   So Live Below the Line is challenging individuals and communities to see how much change you can make out of $1.75. By living off just $1.75 per day for food and drink for five days, you will be bringing to life the direct experiences of the 2.4  billion people currently living in extreme poverty and helping to make real change. What is extreme poverty? Extreme poverty is very specific – it refers to the poorest, most vulnerable people in the world. In 2005, the World Bank explained extreme poverty as living on less than $1.25 US a day in the United States – for everything. This has been converted to the Canadian equivalent and adjusted for inflation to $1.75 a day. When I visited Cambodia with World Vision last year, we went to visit rural families living in extreme poverty. Many days they ate only rice with lots of MSG for flavour. And many of them ended up very sick, including a boy we met who was suffering from malnutrition. When the mom was asked what her hopes were for her kids, she answered, “I hope to have enough food for both of them to eat tomorrow.” I don’t think I will ever forget her or her kids. And yet, I can spend almost $10 for lunch for a meal at the food court in the mall down the street without thinking about it, in fact I often end up complaining about it. Who’s taking the challenge? Lots of people, including Canadian actor and comedian Ennis Esmer who stars on the show ”The Listener,” is actually leading the pack with donations on the website’s Leaderboards. Here’s a post from his facebook page: ”Almost at finish line. 1.5 cups oatmeal, half a tiny apple & a few spoonfuls split peas today. Total: $0.40.” I'm thinking of doing it. I’m afraid though. I ask myself what I could eat for $1.75 a day. I love food — berries, avocados, licorice, cake, roast beef, chicken, ice cream. Not to mention that I sometimes like to wash it down a few glasses of wine or craft beer or freshly squeezed juice. I fear I would be limited to simple meals of rice and beans. And yet, don't I have a responsibility to people who don't have the choice? What makes it OK for me to eat delicious organic fare with some exotic ingredients? And for others to live on only rice, white rice at that. It fills a belly but there’s very little nutritional value. It's hard to get excited about basic sustenance, day after day. And what about the feasts and celebrations we build around mealtimes? My people are from Italy, a country that has no problem busting out festivals around fresh figs, olive oil and roasted chestnuts. True story. And what about emotional eating? And complaining that I ate too much lasagna or chocolate cake or bursting at the seams when I go to the Mandarin Restaurant? For sure, there would be none of that. And so, for now, I want to thank the people who are actually doing it, not just thinking about it. People like Ennis Esner, who make a difference in our world. What about you? Could you live on $1.75 a day? Would you do it to raise money for people around the world who have no choice?        
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Culture & Entertainment

Living on $1.75 a day – below the line

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