Consider for a moment what it would be like to be out on the street with nothing but the clothes on your back and a buck and some change in your pocket. How will you make it to tomorrow? What will you eat? Where will you stay? Forget your cable bill and your internet charges… Forget your car payment and all of the cool stuff you still want to buy… Forget your health club membership and your yoga classes… Forget your insurance premium and your retirement account… Forget your tall skinny lattes and your hip new eyeglasses, as well, for crying out loud! You’ve got a buck and some change to make it to tomorrow. Period. And don’t even begin to think that tomorrow brings a sigh of relief and a clean pair of underwear and a return to your “normal” existence! When tomorrow arrives you’ll have just another buck and some change to make it to the day after that…, and so on and so forth until perhaps the end of your days.
Sound harsh? Do you wonder whether it’s even possible to feed and clothe and shelter yourself with just a buck and some change per day? Well, impossible as it may seem, $1.50 is the U.S. dollar equivalent of the World Bank’s definition of extreme poverty – a way of life for well over a billion people living today.
The Global Poverty Project’s Live Below the Line campaign is raising awareness of this reality by encouraging people to challenge themselves to live for five days on only what food and drink can be purchased with $1.50 per day. Challenging, yes, but thankfully enough it doesn’t require us to factor in whatever pro rata share of our clothing or mortgage or rent or toys would accrue to those five days. Good thing, too, because it’s probably a safe bet that if we were challenged to keep the totality of our living expenses below $1.50 per day, we’d have to move into the alleyway and wear the same old clothes for five days straight!
The challenge officially begins this Monday, April 29th, and continues through the following Friday. For personal reasons I’ll be starting this Sunday, tomorrow. I plan to post something daily until the challenge is over, so please stay tuned. Please keep in mind, though, that for many the challenge continues for the rest of their lives.
Oh, and if at any time you become moved to donate to the cause, you can certainly find a charity that resonates with you by accessing the Live Below the Line donations page. If you'd like to donate on my behalf so that I might reach my ever-so-modest fundraising goal, you may search for markfrank on that same page. Donations will be accepted until May 31st. Thank you!
Copyright 2013 by Mark Frank