As this is my fourth year taking the Live Below the Line challenge, in all honesty, I didn’t really expect to experience anything new. I continue to take the challenge year-on-year because it renews my passion to see an end to extreme poverty and makes me appreciate all I have, while raising funds for ongoing work toward eradicating poverty.
On Wednesday I stopped into Sainsbury’s to pick up a few final items for the five-day challenge ahead. At the self-checkout, I anxiously rung my items through, hoping I hadn’t exceeded my meagre budget. When it came time to pay, I glanced at the coin slot only to find the person before me had left their change. Hoorah! A mere 15p to the previous customer was an extra 15% on my daily food allowance. In that celebratory moment I decided I am definitely going to leave my change behind, once in a while. You just never know when your loose change might mean significantly more to the next person in the queue.
Today, I was faced with a far less positive realisation. Taking the challenge for the first time as a mother, I had no idea the impact it might have on my five-month-old baby. By 5pm this afternoon, my milk supply had dwindled so much that I had to tap into my store of frozen milk in our freezer. I genuinely never thought my milk would be affected at all, never mind so early in the challenge. As I struggled to feed my daughter and she became frustrated at the lack of forthcoming nourishment, I began to cry. Not so much for myself or my child – I have the reassurance of backup milk – but for the mothers around the world who simply cannot feed their babies because they don’t even have enough food for themselves. To watch your child starve must be one of the most horrific agonies any parent could endure. Today I merely got a glimpse of what it must feel like and I was done…heartbroken. If I was so utterly desperate I would hope someone more privileged, somewhere in the world, cared enough to do something about it.
That is why I am doing this, again, for the fourth time. And I will continue to play my part until no mother, genuinely living below the poverty line, ever has to watch her child starve. You can stand with me by taking the challenge too or supporting here. No amount is insignificant.
Today I ate porridge, lentil cottage pie, sweet potato and lentil curry with rice and three mini banana muffins, all washed down with two cups of tea. Meals totaled 70p for the day.