Guest post by Sarah Manning
Sarah is currently a publishing student at Centennial College and an editorial intern at
She is a lover of food, literature and her two cats.
For some, two cups of coffee runs a tab of more than $8.75. But for impoverished Canadians, that budget constitutes a week of living expenses. To raise funds and awareness, the Global Poverty Project,
an international education and advocacy organization
Live Below the Line
, an anti-poverty campaign challenging participants to subsist on a daily budget of $1.75 for five consecutive days. From April 28 to May 2, more than 670 Canadians participated in the challenge, raising $140,000 for eight partnered organizations, including Raising the Village (which aids the most impoverished and remote villages in Africa), Opportunity International Canada (a financial solutions provider that helps break the cycle of poverty in the developing world) and Ve’ahavta (a relief organization based on the Jewish values of justice and kindness).
Although the Live Below the Line challenge week has passed, the campaign will continue through June. Those interested in participating are encouraged to fundraise and take the challenge for any five consecutive days until then. Thinking about taking part? Odette Hutchings, campaign manager of Live Below the Line, says the way to go about the challenge is to stretch $8.75 over the five days—it will go a lot further that way. “Make sure that you have a plan and you’re not trying to buy food day by day.”
Hutchings, who took part in the challenge for the first time this year, also suggests working with people whom you can cook and shop with. “I did the challenge with another person and we pooled our resources. It’s really great to have someone supporting you and feeling the way you’re feeling during the week.” While no easy feat,
living below the poverty line
is an unparalleled experience that teaches compassion and appreciation of all that we take for granted as Canadians, says Hutchings. “You have this approximation of how difficult it must be for people who are living this way to lift themselves out.” Live Below the Line originally launched in Australia in 2010 and came to Canada last year. Since then, Canadians across the country have chosen to live below the poverty line
so that others can lift themselves above it
Photography: Raising the Village (kids); Martha Weber (food)