Could you live on $1.50 a day like 1.4 billion people do?


So today, I’m starting a personal challenge. MOMEntum/Big Fuel is joining forces with Global Poverty Project in support of the United Nations Foundation Shot@Life to raise awareness and hopefully some money around the issue of extreme poverty.

I’ve teamed up with a co-worker and there are two other teams signed up for the challenge. We are going to spend the next 5 days living below the line with close to 67,000 other people who have signed up to take the challenge from countries all over the world.

My stomach is growling and it’s only 9am. I’m in trouble.

My co-worker/teammate is petrified at what we’re facing. Neither of us have ever had to face hunger personally other than when we pass the homeless person on the street or subway car. We give them our pocket change or food if we are carrying anything on us. We have not experienced true hunger.

I know I’m already looking at things differently. Every $1.50 bottle of soda I buy, I now look at as someone’s totally daily existence. My typical lunch (New York City prices) is equal if not more than my entire budget for the five days of the challenge. I break everything I buy into “how many people are existing on this today?”

We’ve done our shopping. Our pooled $15 was a very small bag consisting primarily of a loaf of bread, a carton of eggs, rice, a can of beans to share every day and a banana a day. We cooked it and portioned it out for the week. Our strategy is to split the small meals in half again and spread them out.

Our daily menu will look like this:

1 hard boiled egg: 70 calories
1 slice of bread: 66 calories
Grape jelly: 50 calories

1 slice of bread: 66 calories
Grape jelly: 50 calories

2 slices of bread: 132 calories
Grape jelly: 50 calories

1 banana: 105 calories

Black beans: 50 calories
Rice: 250 calories

That’s a whole grand total of 889 calories.

This is going to be hard. Really hard. Harder than I thought when I signed on for this challenge.

But at the end of five days, I will eat normally again. I’ll probably once again drink $1.50 sodas and eat $7 lunches, but through different eyes.

1.4 billion people won’t be as fortunate. They’ll continue to deal with this every day.

If you’d like to donate, you can do so here.

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