A few last words…

Many of you know that for most of the last 130+ days (36% of the year), I have lived below the poverty line, an equivalent of $2AUD worth of food per day. I made a few exceptions for special occasions such as weddings but have made up for this at one point or another. This is a summary of what has happened over the last few months… as always, the purpose of this was to:

  1. Raise awareness about poverty and those less fortunate than myself.
  2. Provide an avenue for people to contribute to the vision of a world without poverty.

In case you missed it, here is what I set out to do:
Starting on the First of May this year, I planned to live Below the Line until $2015 had been raised for the Oak Tree Foundation. To make sure there would be an end in the foreseeable future, I am self-contributing $10 for every day that I live Below the Line. If no donations were received, I would finish on November 14, 2015. Although exceptions were few, I made up for each exception with 3 additional days. Thanks to some very generous donations, I was able to cut my time short substantially and went back over the line on September 10, 2015..

I would like to thank all of the wonderful people who placed a donation, big or small and reduced my suffering. I would also like to thank anyone who offered me food whether out of sympathy or to see if I would cave; I am sorry if my refusals offended you, please know it was for a good cause.

Special thanks to the following businesses for making things a little more affordable:

  • IGA for cheap tinned tuna, occasional discounts on tinned soup and reduced for quick sale meats.
  • Woolworths for random weekly sales and Vanilla Rice cream for $1 this past week, it has been an appreciated break
  • Hungry Jacks for stunner meals which I was able to save up for a few times for when I was doing things with friends
  • McDonalds for their loose change menu.
  • All of the businesses including Mrs Brown’s, Bombay Bliss, Hinterland Seafood, Ali Baba and the Coffee Club who have missed my purchases over this period, many of whom have made me valued as a customer by asking how I was or cracking jokes about abandoning them. This is a far better than any loyalty program or membership card that anyone could offer!

During this period, I have had to organise or help prepare food for others on 9 separate occasions. This includes organising 3 pizza nights for State of Origin and supper for Church or Youth Group activities. One time, after organising supper for a Youth Service and enduring the smell of hot chips from our local fish and chips shop, Global Citizen published an article about the trends of super-foods and where they actually came from.

Whilst I do not hold myself to the same level, it became ever so real to me that the people who produce the food that we eat are often the ones who will or have had to go without food themselves due to unacceptably low incomes. This includes farmers in Australia who are the innocent victims in an ever increasing price war between monopolising supermarket chains and the kids and young adults who are starting their careers at fast food chains. More recently, this has been disturbingly highlighted in a Four Corners investigation into 7-Eleven stores which have been found to pay their employees an average of $12 per hour. After watching this report, I visited the Morayfield 7-Eleven on 3 separate days at random times and found that the same young man was working the whole time – no matter when I visited!

I think it is great what the fairtrade symbol and Baptist Worldaid shopping guides are doing for farmers and manuafacturers overseas who are less fortunate than us but I think more needs to be done in our own country and similar systems need to be implemented here. After all, how can we expect to help others when we can’t even look after our own primary producers?

Now that this is over I am working on planning my next adventures including 365 acts of totally random kindness and a possible trip to Vanuatu and Fiji in 2016 which I will confirm details at a later date.

  • Baptist World Aid shopping guide
  • Global Ctizen
  • Thankyou
  • Photos that bear witness to modern slavery – TedTalk
  • Kiva
  • Compassion