Hi, I'm Minnie Apolis, and I will be participating in the five-day campaign to raise awareness for global hunger and poverty.
The campaign is called “Live Below the Line” and will take place from May 7 to May 11 (Monday thru Friday). Full details about the campaign are at the main website, LiveBelowTheLine dot com.
This is not the first year of the Live Below the Line campaign, but it is fairly new. Fund-raising targets for a poverty-relief organization have been rather low. I decided that $500 was high enough to be a challenge, but low enough to be doable. Past years have raised an average of less than that per participant.
Participants like me can choose from several non-profit, poverty-relief organizations. I chose the Malaria No More organization because wiping out killer malaria is so doable, and would improve the lives of Third World-ers immensely.
Malaria No More distributes mosquito nets and treatment; they educate families to ensure that they understand what the program is about and how to use the nets.
Malaria is one of the top three killers of children world-wide.
To donate please go to my dedicated link at https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/minnieapolis and contribute whatever you wish to this project. Not gonna hound you to donate more, not gonna knock at your door asking for contributions, not gonna make sad puppy eyes at you to make you feel guilty.
Now, to explain what the “Live Below the Line” thing is about: Most people in the world spend less than a buck and a half on their food supply each day. The goal is for us participants to also live on a buck and a half a day.
While I do not expect anyone to be checking up on me every day to see if there is a Big Mac on my breath, I do intend to try to live within this guideline for the five days of the campaign.
I have stocked up on some cheap staples to form the outlines of my diet for at least the five days. Am ready with oatmeal or eggs for breakfast. I just bought a five-pound bag of potatoes for $3 – I have not worked out what that averages out to per spud but maybe you can help me with that. I bought several boxes of private-label (store brand) mac and cheese at 27 cents apiece over a month ago, and have enough of those left to eat one a day if I really needed to. Canned goods were bought on sale, so I could make chili with kidney beans and chopped tomatoes, or pork and beans. (Cuts of the cheapest beef and chicken I could find at Walmart and Nelson's have been cut into cubes or fingers to toss in with the taters or other veggies.) I should not have to resort to “stone soup” to make the cutoff.
So I think I am good to go. I will have to try not to think about stopping in at the local Caribou Coffee, or Arby's, or Godfather Pizza. Five days should be easy enough.
I will try to post something on a daily basis for the five days to let you see how I am getting along.
FRIDAY UPDATE: First of all, I have gotten my first donation on Thursday -- thank you to the donor who broke the ice!
Next, the BelowTheLine people sent out an email early this morning (Friday, May 4) that the donation system WAS down earlier today -- but is now FIXED:
You may have noticed that we were having trouble processing Live Below the Line donations today. We're sorry about that - and glad to report that the problem is now fixed.
PayPal's systems were down yesterday, which meant our site couldn't process any donations. But we're pleased to inform you that they've now resolved their issue. This means that our donations system is up and running again.
Unfortunately, this means that for a whole day, we haven't been able to receive donations to expand critical work being done to tackle extreme poverty.
We will be contacting everyone who has attempted to make a donation during this time to let them know they can now progress in making their donation, but we know that the most important updates about this campaign come from you - the participant. Can you help us make sure your friends and family know the donation system is up and running again by emailing them and posting the news and your fundraising page on Facebook and Twitter?
We apologise for the inconvenience caused by their outage and assure you that we have been working with PayPal through the night to ensure that it was fixed as quickly as possible.
Thank you for the enthusiasm you have shown the campaign so far, and we look forward to reading the insight and stories gained from those of you taking the challenge next week.
Justine and the Live Below the Line Team
Also, if you have any potato soup recipes that do not have dairy in them, please share them with me. THANKS!
SATURDAY: Today I added the official logo to the article here. Now I'm official!
MONDAY: Day One of the Below the Line challenge. The challenge is to live on $1.50 worth of food each day of the project, May 7 thru 11.
Breakfast was a banana and two slices of bread.
Lunch was a bit late and was just an orange -- didn't have much time before starting to cut up soup veggies.
Supper was first day of my potato soup batch. About $1.50 of potatoes, 50 cents of carrots, the rest of the dried onion flakes in the jar, dashes parsley and pepper and paprika. And a can of non-famous-brand evaporated milk. Oh forgot the celery. What happened was, some months ago I bought a whole fresh celery and I just cannot eat that much celery. But I chopped up the rest and put it in the freezer to use in things like soups and casseroles or whatever. So I would have to guess possibly a whole quarter's worth of celery will go into the slow cooker.
Of course I am not eating the whole batch in one night so if I eat a whole dollar's worth tonight (which I do not think is possible), I am still staying Below the Line.
Beverage would have been my downfall if I had not restocked my supply of black tea. I could not figure out how much coffee would be with making my own in a pot; those estimates of how many cups in a can or jar can vary a lot depending on how much you spoon out. And I don't drink soda – another potential booby trap. However – A box of 80 teabags was a buck at the dollar store. That works out to one and a quarter pennies per teabag. Or four for a nickel – figure a nickel a day. I could even splurge on a packet of sugar with that.
TUESDAY: Yes, I am all stocked up on cheap foods.
Had the banana and 2 slices of bread again for breakfast before dashing off to work. I knew I might have a long day.
Can of pork n bean for lunch was 50 cents. (bought a bunch 2/$1 several weeks ago) Eating rest of potato soup for supper to use it up. I was too full to finish it – unbelievable! So I put a bowl away in the frig to mix with other veggies later this week.
Probably spaghetti tomorrow, mac n cheese for a lunch somewhere (picked up a bunch of Hy-Vee store brand for 27 cents apiece on sale and I have plenty), eggs for supper Friday, and you know what? I'm probably heating up that pizza on Saturday!
Yes, there will probably be baked potatoes on the menu at least once -- I have plenty on hand. I am finding doable snacks of a Little Debbie Nutty Bar will fit into the Below the Belt budget.
WEDNESDAY: Had little breakfast -- even though I had plenty of time -- and nibbled on some almonds for lunch.
Will do the spaghetti thing today for supper, which is running a bit late. I ought to eat before I go down to do laundry. Plenty of time.
Microwave pasta: Put your pasta in a microwave-proof container with enough water to cover; that should be around 1.75 cups water. Too much water and it will take longer to cook, plus it is more likely to overflow. Set it at 7 minutes at 70 percent power. Cover or not – your choice. Take out and shake out extra water, which probably won't be very much.
Scoop sauce or ?? on top, to your taste. Yes, you can cook spaghetti in the microwave – although you do have to experiment a bit to allow for differences in power, etc in different models.
I have dollar cans of sauce, and I only need a half can to top my noodles, which in turn run maybe a quarter's worth at the most. For plain spaghetti noodles, a bit more for fancier pasta like ziti, rotelle, etc.
Craving chocolate anything today.
THURSDAY: Had the banana and two slices bread for breakfast, with tea, before going off to work. Lunch may have been the tastiest meal so far: peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwich, with jelly beans. The jelly beans were a birthday gift from a coworker. (Yeah I had a birthday this week)
Hmmm, Haven't thought about supper but I ought to do something with the leftover spaghetti sauce before it goes bad. I am not against spaghetti 2 days in a row since it is a meal I like. Wonder if I can put the spaghetti sauce on top of the mac n cheese...
---- (hours later) Yes, the spaghetti sauce on top of the mac n cheese was pretty good. So far, between the PB&J sandwich and the tomato-y mac n cheese, this is by far the best day of the week.
FRIDAY: Same breakfast. I need the potassium lately because I am on a short-term med that tends to deplete nutrients, so I am eating my bananas and other fruit n veggies.
Lunch was not memorable -- I think I had the beans again. Eggs and toast for supper. Later ate the rest of the potato soup veggies with some pepper, washed down with tea. Snacked on a small microwave popcorn -- I have been far too frugal, more than necessary, and I can splurge a bit.
SATURDAY: I said I would have a pizza on Saturday and I am about to open the package now, and set it in the oven. I made it thru the week.
In retrospect, I did not plan out the week quite as well as I could have. I could have suffered a bit less and eaten very well. One option I did not use was to use cabbage. A hearty cabbage soup can be so cheap; cabbage is maybe 48 cents on sale, a can of beets to make borscht was 68 cents, a fraction of a beef roast cut into stew meat could be as little as a buck. And that batch would last about 3-5 DAYS, adding miscellaneous veggies or other items as the spirit moves you.
But, I did have enough food choices on hand that I was not locked into just one thing. I had potatoes, eggs, peanut butter, jam from the dollar store, tea, carrots, peas, kidney beans, tomato soup, green beans, beets, mac n cheese, pasta, and rice on hand to make what I felt like eating at the moment.
Thank you for listening and reading and for all your good wishes.