Friday, May 11, 2012

The final day of eating below the line

I feel like it's the the night before Christmas, knowing that today is the last day of our family is living below the line. I know it's awful to feel this way, when there are so many people who live like this everyday and have been for much longer than 5 measly days. Yet, it's how I feel. I am looking forward to drinking unlimited amounts of coffee with no hesitation,  adding an extra egg to my omelet with sausage and cheese because I can, and being able to order Chinese food for my birthday celebration because I don't want to cook.

Man, I am lucky. I've always felt lucky to have the life I have, but after these five days, I feel differently. I feel blessed. I have been able to spend the last 5 years at home with my amazingly thoughtful compassionate daughter. I have been able to make improvements to our home. I have food in my fridge and I am able to heat and cool my house.

I was ignorant before to the life 1.4 billion people are living and in reality I'm still ignorant. I have seen a glimpse of what the extreme poor experience, but I have health care, a stock pile of food in my basement, and I'm taking 2 vacations this year.

This challenge has made me more aware of the cost of things. I realized this week that spending $150.00 a week at the grocery store is RIDICULOUS! I could spend half of that and feed my family adequately and donate the rest to the food bank or give it to a friend who is struggling. I shouldn't be living my life in excess while others are barely making it. It seems selfish to me. 

According to my US census, 13.8% of the USA is living in poverty which is around 43 million people. 9.1% of New Jersey's population is living below the poverty line.  That is an astonishing 802,725 people and 500 of which live in my town.  Most individuals who are living this life are single mothers. How have I not noticed this issue? Where I have been?

What more can I do? How do I help 43 million people? Talk about an uphill battle.

Today I wasn't as hungry. I think my body has made some adjustments and is learning to live on less.  We even had a friend and her kids over for dinner and spent about $.50 per person on dinner. Her kids weren't thrilled about not being able to use the grated cheese on their sausage and rice dinner, but when I explained they could be eating macaroni and peas (they HATE peas) instead,  they bucked up and ate without complaints. Rob and I thought the sausage rice dish tasted like sausage stuffing and I think we would make it again. I used 1 carrot, 1 onion, 1 clove of garlic and 2 packages of sausage that were $1.49 and 2 cups of rice. I cooked everything in the same pot like I would jambalaya. It was delicious. 

I'm glad my family participated in living below the line. We have a greater spot in our hearts for those who are living this life everyday. Maddie has been praying for everyone to have the money to have blueberries and strawberries, since she had to live without this week. Rob and I are praying we can find a way to change these grim statistics in our local community.


  1. I am glad you did it too, because it not only brought awareness to your family but to a whole group of us! Good for you and now that it is over I will happily comeback for a dinner that is not pea soup!

  2. What a great way to teach your family about being grateful for what they have!