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Emily Roberts tries to Live Below the Line for charity
FOR £1, you would struggle to buy a cup of coffee, but that will be my entire budget for food for a day when I take part in a charity challenge to help raise awareness of world poverty.
I will join thousands of other people who are participating in Live Below the Line for Restless Development, when for five days I will live on just £5 in total.
The event aims to raise awareness of those living in extreme poverty, and to raise funds for development agencies which support these people.
Restless Development’s belief is that to eradicate extreme poverty, we must first understand it.
Now in its third year, the challenge asks people to eat and drink for £1 a day, for five days – the extreme poverty threshold beneath which 1.4billion people worldwide must survive on each day.
I don’t think I have ever been extravagant when it comes to buying food, but I do often opt for convenience, choosing to buy pre-prepared vegetables, salads and sauces.
With a busy lifestyle, they obviously save having to scrub, peel, chop and stir in the kitchen, but this will not be a luxury I can afford when I live below the poverty line for five days. Instead, my week will need to be meticulously planned in advance if I am to continue to eat healthy, balanced meals three times a day.
Taking part has certainly made me question and think about the food I buy, particularly that which goes to waste.
I throw out items which are out-of-date, and chuck away left-overs without thinking twice, rather than planning in advance to freeze them.
However, as a child I was taught not to waste food, and I think part of this has stayed with me, as I always finish what is on my plate.
I am lucky in that I don’t have to worry about what I spend on food – I don’t even have a budget to stick to. Food isn’t just about survival, but more about enjoyment and comfort.
But it seems unfair and wrong that what to spend is a big concern for so many people, particularly when there is more than enough food to go round.
For five days, I will have to come up with some creative ways of making food go further, carefully comparing prices to find the cheapest products, and foregoing taste in favour of foods which will fill me up and give me energy.
I love food, and I look forward to eating, so it will be a tough challenge. A sample menu created by Restless Development sounds unappetising, with options such as pasta with frozen vegetables and tomatoes.
The charity recommends that participants spend the entire budget of £5 at the start of the week.
It suggests researching and creating a shopping list, and sticking to generic staples such as pasta, lentils, rice, bread, vegetables, potatoes and oats.
Follow me on Twitter @erobertsgazette to find out how I get on.
And to sponsor me to live on just £1 a day, visit livebelowtheline.com/me/emilyroberts.
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