Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day 18- $1 a day- Take the Challenge!

Some of you have been reading my blog from the beginning and I sincerely hope there have been enough issues raised to get you thinking about your own eating and spending habits in relation to the poor of our world. So ok, who is ready for a challenge?

Three billion people around the world live on less than $2 a day. My challenge is that for ONE WEEK you spend no more than $2 a day on food. If you live in a household of 2 or 4 or 5 people, then you get to spend $2 per person. Come on, it's only for 7 days. I'm living on 1/2 of that for 40 days, and I know that some of you have been reading and wondering if you could pull off the same type of thing. Let’s find out!

My challenge is inspired by two organizations who use the $2 a day challenge to raise awareness about global poverty, and to raise money for the world's poor. In America, there is a Two Dollar Challenge which was originally started by a professor who challenged the students in his micro-economics class to live on $2 a day. In Australia there is the Mutunga Challenge which advocates for a temporary (7 days) change in lifestyle as a tool for "building a sense of community with the poor."

My experiment is going for another 22 days and I wanted to put this challenge out NOW so you have time to think about it, time to plan for it, and time to actually execute it sometime in the next 3 weeks. If a handful of San Franciscans take the challenge I think it would be cool to have a simple meal together, to pool our resources one night for dinner and stand in solidarity with the world's poor. I will host!

Taking it down a notch, some people may consider $2 a day for one week to be out of their realm of possibility. So I challenge you to do SOMETHING in the spirit of my experiment.
o If you eat out a lot, eat at home for one week.
o If you eat out for lunch every day, pack a lunch for one week.
o If you spend quite a bit on groceries, cut your food budget in half for one week.
o If you are an unapologetic carnivore, eat vegetarian for 7 days.
o If you like to shop, buy an extra bag of groceries and give it to a local food pantry.

I'm excited thinking about the possibilities and hope that at least a few of you are too. Naturally the idea is that you take the money you would have spent on food and you donate it to an organization that provides some relief to those who are hungry. Reader's ideas as posted in the comments so far have been to give to Kiva, Heifer International, San Francisco Food Bank, and in Sacramento, Loaves and Fishes.

I only ask these 4 things. Tell me via the comments or an email:
1) WHAT type of challenge you are taking on.
2) WHEN you are starting your challenge.
3) HOW MUCH money you end up donating to a hunger fighting organization (please don't feel weird about that. A $5 donation is totally great. We all do what we can. I'd just like to know what this challenge brings forth)
4) WHICH organization you donate to.

Ok, I’ve thrown down the gauntlet. Who is in?


  1. I will take the challenge.. but I'm not sure how yet. Will discuss it with my partner and let you know what we come up with.

  2. yep, i'm in for the challenge. not sure what it will look like for me yet. one thing im considering is just eating what i already have and not spending any money for a week. i'll let you know more when i settle on it. thanks for putting the challenge out there!

  3. I'll do it Melanie. Just not right now. Need to get through this weekend at a minimum. I'll keep you posted. This is going to take some thought. $14 for 7 days... whew!

  4. I'm in! I love a good challenge. I've decided that I'm going to give up top shelf cocktails for a full week. And I'm not going to accept dates to restaurants with 5 $$$$$ in the Zagat review. Unless someone invites me to French Laundry in the next 7 days. I'm weak.

  5. Ed, you truly are a friend to the poor and hungry. And BTW, if I can't accept dinner at the White House, you can't accept an invitation to French Laundry.

  6. I am in. $1 for one week on food, going out, all that. I will start on Sunday.