Tuesday, 24 September 2013

£1 a Day Campaign

Could you live on £1 a day for four days? This was the challenge taken up by parishioners of St Mary of the Angels Church, Worthing, to highlight the issue of global food poverty and support charities working to overcome this problem.

A direct comparison with the two billion people worldwide who have to exist on this amount is not possible. Food already in the house should not be wasted and participants have clothes and housing, but even this partial glimpse of their daily struggle will raise awareness (and money).

In this exercise food is the priority. What could one eat on such a low income and survive? A previous participant gave an example: porridge made with water for breakfast, lunch and dinner comprising a combination of rice, pasta, frozen mixed vegetables, tomato and curry sauce, supported by some kidney beans, five bananas and four oranges to last over the week, plus only water to drink - a monotonous diet, but just affordable.

More difficult were the unexpected expenses. Cutting one’s self while gardening and having to scrounge plasters one from a neighbour as the daily budget did not stretch far enough to by the cheapest; the library book reservation charge of 60 pence that would take most of that day's budget; the internet subscription fee that had to be ignored; the invitations to go out with friends for coffee that had to be refused. Hunger begins to creep in and one’s lifestyle is changed.

These are clearly not comparable to the challenges faced by families in the developing world but they do make one aware of just how much one takes for granted – even on a limited budget. Food poverty is happening in the UK too. The Trussell Trust says that the number of food banks has trebled over the past year and Oxfam calculated that half a million people nationwide are using them. Shockingly, it is estimated that one million children in the UK go to school hungry.

At the conclusion the difference between the £1 a day budget and the participants’ normal weekly shopping bill was donated to charities working with the world’s most hungry people. Perhaps you could accept the challenge – you don’t have to look far to find people that need our help."

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