Last year I took part in the Live Below The Line Challenge for the first time, and it was a hugely valuable experience for me – you can read my daily diaries about it here, and you can also find my shopping list and recipes from last year if you want some inspiration. In case you’ve never heard of it, the challenge is to spend five days living on just £1 per person per day, both in sympathy with the thousands of people in the UK and elsewhere that live below the poverty line, and to raise money for charities working to change that. This year, the official Live Below The Line challenge is on hiatus (from their website: “Live Below the Line is taking a ‘gap year’ so we can invest the time and money to scale up the campaign to reach thousands more people”), but the experience was so powerful and important for me that I really wanted to do it again this year – so with permission from our great leader at fdbloggers, Loriley, I’m organising a special one-off fdbloggers challenge – although anyone and everyone is welcome to take part, and you don’t have to be a food blogger. The rules will be the same, but instead of raising sponsorship money, we’ll look to raise awareness*.
Here’s what I’m suggesting if you take part in the Fdbloggers Below The Line Challenge:
• Spend five days, from the 11th to the 15th of April 2016, living on just £1 per person per day. This money is to cover all food and drink during that period (things like toiletries aren’t included). You can choose how you achieve this, but here are a few guidelines:
– Water is not included – drink as much ordinary tap water as you like.
– As far as possible, you should not rely on store cupboard items you already own, but purely on food bought with your LBTL budget. You may choose to ‘pay’ for salt, pepper & other seasonings you already own at 1p per pinch, but otherwise you shouldn’t pay only for what you eat – if you buy a big bag of potatoes & only eat two, you still need to budget the whole thing. A huge difficulty for those living on really limited funds is that they actually can’t afford to save money by buying in bulk, because they don’t have the funds all at once for the initial outlay.
– You can club together with participating friends or housemates to spend your budget – just make sure you’re only allowing £1 per person per day.
– Try not to cheat by accepting free stuff from friends or going round your mum’s for dinner – obviously we can’t stop you, but it’ll make the experience less authentic! Many of us are very lucky to have friends and family who would support us if we were in need, but that’s not true for everyone in our society or elsewhere.
• If you’d like to, you could consider donating the rest of the money that you would have spent on a normal shop to a suitable local charity of your choice – a great excuse to find out more about your local food banks, homeless shelters, and more. You can also usually donate food directly to food banks and homeless shelters, if you prefer – just make sure you find out what they need first.
• Tell all your friends & family what you’re doing, and encourage them to support you by making their own donations – and even to sign up next year when the official LBTL returns.
• Blog about your experiences & what you’ve learnt! You’re very welcome to use the image at the top of the post for anything you write, if you’d like to.
• Shout about what you’re doing on social media – use the hashtag #fdbloggersBTL on Twitter and Instagram to share your meals & your struggles, so we can all support each other!
Questions or comments? Fancy joining in? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up!
*we made this decision to avoid any complication with the official campaign. You should still feel free to donate to appropriate local charities and encourage supportive friends and family to do the same!