Live Below the Line - Why We Do It

This is it.  The week where I get on my high horse for a full five days.  By the end of the five days, I'll have massive saddle sores and probably want to eat the horse, but I'm forging ahead.

Josh and I (definitely not Ella yet) are participating in an international event called Live Below the Line.  For those of you who haven't heard of it, LBL is an initiative of the Global Poverty Project, whose goal is simply to involve more people in understanding and fighting extreme poverty.  To do this, we'll only spend £10 on our food for the next 5 days.  LBL raises money for about 16 different charities in the UK, including UNICEF, Tearfund, Christian Aid, the Salvation Army, and several others.

Participants can choose one charity to earmark, and I've chosen ActionAid.  The reason for me is simple:  the UK government has seen ActionAid's proven results and sustainability toward helping women and girls in extreme poverty, and they are doubling all donations.  That means that if my friends give me £1 (the cost of one day's food), ActionAid gets twice that!

We did it last year, and it was genuinely difficult and eye-opening.  There is very little room in the budget for fresh fruit and veg and even less for protein.  I wouldn't recommend using this as a diet, but if you wanted to use the recipes as a way to fast or show a small group of people, it would work well that way.  I'll be posting each day what we are eating, and you can also catch up on my donation page:


So that's what we're doing, but here's why we're doing it:

(yes, she ate this burger)

One of Ella's favourite words is "more."  She says it most readily when it involves food.  I love that I can go to our fridge or freezer or cupboard and give her more.  And if we don't have enough, we just go to the store and get "more."  

I couldn't imagine what it would be like to give Ella the tiniest portion of rice or meal or porridge and know that when she cries for "more" that there isn't any, and there's very little hope of having more.  

Probably a quarter of the photos we take of Ella involve food.  It's a massive part of all of our lives, and there's nothing we like more than experimenting and playing and making messes in the kitchen.  We are beyond blessed to be able to eat like we do.  We eat out in restaurants when our budget allows or have takeaways or cook elaborate multi-course dinner parties or just have pasta with pesto, but we have a choice.

Over a BILLION (yes, billion) people don't have a choice to live like that.  With £1 or less to feed themselves and their children each day.  There's been a lot of research done, and there is more than enough food produced on our planet for everyone, but issues like violence, corruption, sickness, war and climate change mean that the most vulnerable people (especially children) aren't getting it.  If that makes me a communist, then send me a pink shirt in the mail, but as a Christian, it must be intolerable to me.  Here's why:

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.  Do not say to your neighbor, "Come back later; I'll give tomorrow" - when you now have it with you.  - Proverbs 3:27-28

He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. - Proverbs 14:31

Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. - James 2:15-17

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.  1 John 3:17-18


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