Live Below the Line

I will never forget the day I started my new job at a subsidized childcare centre. I was sixteen, finally able to work and eager to earn a little extra cash to buy some shoes or clothing as well as gain some financial independence. As we served snack to the children, apple and orange slices, along with some yogurt, I noticed a little girl feasting on the fresh fruits before her. I made a comment along the lines of, “you must really like fruit.” Looking up, she replied, “I eat a lot of fruits at daycare because mommy says we can’t afford them.” Suddenly, I felt a little guilty and shallow about my desire to add to my shoe collection.

I have never experienced poverty myself. Growing up, my family was not exactly well off, but food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, was not something we had to go without. Luckily for my siblings and me, my parents always were gainfully employed. According, approximately 900, 000 families use a food bank per month. Children, whose brains need to develop from proper nutrients are not getting enough to eat and are losing focus and concentration in school. That is why I was so impressed when my friend Kate joined a caused called, Live Below the Line. The cause challenges those who join to live on a daily budget of $1.75 per day for 5 consecutive days. On this budget, you must buy all your groceries for the entire week. If you like your Starbucks or Tim Horton’s each day, like myself, that would leave you with about .30 cents left in your daily allowance for food. I was impressed because about three items in my weekly shopping cart cost $8.75, and this could not feed me for the week. I donate to food banks frequently, but this challenge is one I am not sure I could meet if I am being totally honest with you. What if this was my budget? What if I lost my source of income for some unfortunate circumstance? Through creative combing of the grocery aisles, and determination to support her cause, Kate managed to shop within this tight budget. Here is a sample of her daily menu:

1/4 uncooked rice
1/4 apple
1/3 cup yogurt
1 tbsp peanut butter
TOTAL COST = .49 cents

1 egg
4 mini potatoes
1 small tomato
1 leaf w stem Kale
TOTAL COST = .90 cents

Split-Pea Soup that I made last night … by making enough for 2 meals I cut the cost per meal
1 cube veggie stock
1/2 cup dried split-peas
2 slices ham
TOTAL COST = .72 cents … TOTAL COST / DAY = .36 cents

This menu came without salt, sugar and spices as there was no room in the extreme budget.

Things she missed the most:
Fruits and veggies

This challenge did not come without its physical toll on Kate. Throughout the week, she got the chills, had migraines, felt lethargic and got a bad flu that was circulating at the office. She managed to stick to her goal and continued to raise money for her cause.  Kate sums up why she took on this challenge best. I have been blessed with loving friends and family, health and a career, so I have a responsibility. No one should have to live on $1.75 CDN a day…NO ONE? Please help me bring global aware to extreme poverty. 

Thanks, Kate. Your dedication and compassion has made me aware.

visit Kate’s homepage at to learn more about this cause.

Kate Moore.
Kate Moore.

9 thoughts on “Live Below the Line

    1. I am too. When I talked with Kate about this post, she mentioned how her body felt by the end of the week. That made me think how proper nutrition is vital in all we do, thinking, moving, just doing. When children are labeled as slow learners, irritable, etc, it really resonated with me when she said lets try to think, maybe they couldn’t afford to eat breakfast that day. This was a real eye opener.

  1. Michelle … I am so honoured that you chose to write about me!
    Thank you for speading the word!
    Extreme poverty exists here in Canada and in so many other countries around the world.

    I lived on $1.75 for food /day for only 5 days … while others live on this amount for years! In some countries, this would include not only food, but clothing, transportation, medicine, shelter, education … needless to say, these people who have no opportunity for an education, medical attention, transportation, proper nutrition or suitable housing. Life would be extremely difficult and life expectancy would be short.

    Canadians throw away food every day, corporations destroy food to keep prices high, and North Americans in general eat FAR TOO MUCH food … we’re super sizing our portions, getting fat, and putting our lives at risk … while others, in our own neighbourhoods, do not get enough to eat.

    1. The waste in this country is just terrible. This is something else that struck me. I even think of the food I throw away. It’s time for me to be more mindful of my own actions. Thanks for allowing me to feature you Kate. See you soon.

  2. Kate, I so admire your compassion and strength. I honestly don’t know if I could have met this challenge. I am sure this cause has helped to shed more light on global poverty. It has certainly opened my eyes. We (my husband and I) will make a concerted effort to try and not waste food. Thank you for taking the challenge and thanks Michelle for writing about it. Love to you both…Fran

    1. Hi Fran. It’s so true. I know I must start with me. My waste is far too much. This challenge is not something I think I could do, but Kate has really brought awareness to the worldwide issue. Love you lot’s too.

    2. Thanks so much Francine … meaningful words coming from you!
      Another issue that has come to light in the 2 months since doing this challenge is how it affected my immune system. I always thought myself a healthy resilient person, migraines were my only real concern – however – since completing this challenge I caught a bacterial and a viral infection. Both took more than 5 weeks to get rid of, both put me behind in exercise routine, socially, efficiency at work, and both have left me tired and drained. Unfortunate result has been more than one migraine which TOTALLY incapacitate me!
      Even going through all this I realized I am the lucky one … I have medical attention, drugs, health plan, hospital access, etc … there are over 7 billion people on this earth with at least a billion (most likely higher) living in extreme poverty … not only these people, but hundreds of millions (again, possibly even higher) of others, do not have the health care that we have in Canada.
      I am still learning from my experience!

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