Could You Live Below the Line?

Living below the poverty lineImagine if you took the entire population of the United States and multiplied it by four.  Then imagine handing each one of those people $1.50 and telling them to feed themselves for the day with just that amount to spend.  How many people do you think could actually rise to the challenge?

According to the World Bank, there are currently 1.4 billion people around the world who feed themselves on less than $1.50 a day.  There are 1.4 billion people living below the poverty line, spending for an entire day what we spend on a pack of gum at the checkout line or a cup of coffee from Dunkin Donuts.  There are 1.4 billion people with grumbling bellies and not nearly enough sustenance to fight off disease or to concentrate in school.

Live Below the Line is a campaign that is designed to that’s changing the way we think about poverty by challenging people to live on the equivalent of the extreme poverty line for 5 days.  Could you do it?  Remember, we are talking $1.50 for the entire day.  The same amount that buys you a pack of gum or a cup of coffee.  In all honestly I do not think I can, but I am willing to give it a try.

When I told my husband that I am going to attempt this challenge, he just laughed and laughed.  Then he laughed some more – and I began to panic.  This is not going to be easy.  So far, the only food we could think of that falls into the price range is rice.  It looks like I have some research to do.Live Below the Line

The Live Below the Line challenge starts on April 29th and goes through May 3rd.  I will be raising money on behalf of The Mission List and I would love it if you would support me!  All proceeds raised will go to the World Food Programme’s school meals program, where 25 cents provides a child with a square meal and gives them the focus and strength to be able to learn.  You can make a donation at:  Any amount is greatly appreciated.

If you would like to join the team, we would love to have you join us!  To participate, go to: Sign up to Live Below the Line for World Food Program USA.  Then create a profile page and join The Mission List team.  You can find the team page at:

We recognize that five days may not be realistic for everyone.  Even if you can commit to eat on $1.50 per day for one or two days, we encourage you to sign up for the challenge and share your experience with others.  Because no one should have to live below the line.


  1. What a great way to empathize and understand how difficult it would be to live in poverty. I can’t even imagine. I hope your are successful with your challenge.

  2. I always have a hard time calculating these kind of projects since I raise most of our food. There is definitely a reason why rice and beans are so popular around the world. Also check on what is seasonal in your area to help with your meal planning. Thanks for the info.

  3. I was just discussing this with my husband the other day, and I think it’s something I’d like to be involved in.

  4. Jess – I admire you for doing this. My husband and I were discussing this as well, The celbs that are doing it, I see ramine soup in your future. Good Luck

  5. It’s wonderful to hear that you are taking on this challenge and raising money as well. Good luck! I look forward to hearing how it turns out.

  6. Personally, there is no way I could. It’s sad, but it seems as though a lot of the “bad” food is cheaper than the “good” food here. I think if maybe you had your own garden, you could possibly. Good luck!!

  7. I could probably do it for a couple of days, but I’d be CRANKY!

  8. I am impressed that people are able to do this, or attempt it. I think it may be an eye opening experience for many people.

  9. Jessica, this is such an incredible eye opener. I would love to try this for a day. I think I will be signing up and sharing my experience. $1.50 a day…I honestly can not imagine. Wow…

  10. I’ve never been starving, but there have been several times in my life when I’ve wondered how I was going to feed myself on the little money I had. You eat a lot of beans, rice, lentils, and potatoes. Oatmeal for breakfast. Make sure you do get some fruits and veggies in too. Carrots are pretty cheap. :) Drink only water. You’ll have to forgo dairy and meat while you’re doing it. I think it is doable. I’m interested in seeing what you ate and how you do.

  11. Wow, it’s so hard to imagine. I admire you so much!

  12. Good luck! I’m interested to see how you do this – I know our grocery bill is an area where we could cut costs.

  13. It is scary that this is a fact, but I am glad there is a campaign to raise awareness!

  14. What a beautiful post. We can do this!! Thanks for being a social good blogging inspiration!

  15. I’m so glad that you guys have decided to do something about this issue. What amazes me is that so many find this such a challenge. I, myself, live under the poverty line. There are days where I do not eat at all. Many do not realize that buying any amount of groceries is a privilege. I am not lazy, nor am I unintelligent. I am going to school full time, doing clinicals, and trying to work as much as I can. I am gone from 9 a.m- 11 p.m every single day. I know that this is not a permanent situation. I know with 100% certainty that I will one day become “financially free” and I’m happy that I’m experiencing this so that I will remember, before I buy those $400 shoes or $1,000 sheets, that I am starving someone else. Money, in the right hands, can do amazing things for people that do not have it. Did you know that taking more than you need is clinically insane? A reason that humans have survived is because of our need to help others and continue the success of our species. Yet, we live in a culture that is trying to teach us the opposite. Take more and look after oneself. Seeing celebrities buy homes for over a million dollars that they will not be occupying majority of the time is saddening. One-million dollars alone would pay my rent for 196 years-> that will be one of the things I take from this experience and remember for when I am no longer poor. Hopefully, anyone seeing this can remember that and give back what they can and say “no” to buying a unnecessary item that could instead be used to feed a local family! To those like me- stay positive! There are way more things in life that are worth so much more than money. Trust that you will be okay and smile, life is too short and moments are too precious to let your days be wasted with sadness over a piece of paper :) God Bless.

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