This year’s Live Below the Line campaign ends today.
Although I did my five days feeding myself on £1 a day from 26 to 30 April, to raise funds for Unicef and awareness of global poverty, the campaign continues until the end of June.
This year, I hesitated before participating, and finally decided that if I was going to do Live Below the Line I should really go for it.
So after all the planning, price comparisons and shopping I updated this blog, posted on Facebook, tweeted my progress, emailed virtually everyone in my address book and put out an appeal on a weekly work bulletin.
Today, I am both astonished and touched to have raised £1,217 for Unicef. Many, many thanks to everyone who has contributed.
The role call of donors is almost overwhelming: parents, siblings, cousins and godparents; friends from school, college, flatsharing, fellow bloggers and the school gates; work colleagues from assorted jobs and voluntary work; plus the big boost from the fee for my article in the Sunday Times, and donations from some complete strangers who read it.
I don’t think you can do Live Below the Line and emerge unaffected by the experience.
It gives a tiny glimpse into the soul-destroying reality of living in extreme poverty and struggling to afford to feed yourself. To me, the hardest part of Live Below the Line isn’t hunger, it’s the fear of it, the multiple anxious decisions and the social isolation.
In addition to the big issues about poverty, inequality and the distribution of resources, Live Below the Line has made me much more conscious of food pricing, sensible shopping, meal planning, healthy eating and minimising food waste.
(Winning tickets to see Blur in Hyde Park, after filling in a Live Below the Line survey, was pretty fantastic too. I’ll put that one down to karma.)
I first did Live Below the Line three years ago, and the impact of those few days still continues.
I remain immensely grateful that for me, due to an accident of birth, it’s a temporary challenge rather than the grinding reality, day in, day out, for so many others.
If you could spare something – anything – today, to help more than 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty worldwide, do consider a donation.
This is the link to my fund raising page: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/muchmorewithless
And if you have any questions about the campaign, or about participating yourself, do ask!