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Yesterday I had the opportunity to listen in a conference call along with other social good bloggers to hear World Food Program USA Board Chair Hunter Biden and WFP USA President & CEO Rick Leach discuss the “Live Below the Line” Challenge to help solve global hunger.  The fact that 1 in 8 people in the world live in constant hunger – which means 925 million people will not get enough to eat this year (more than the populations of the United States, Canada and the European Union) is not only a tragedy but the world’s number one health risk.

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To give you some background on the campaign, here are some details from World Food Program’s Live Below the Line:

“Live Below the Line is a campaign that’s changing the way people think about poverty—and making a huge difference—by challenging everyday people to live on the equivalent of the extreme poverty line for 5 days. “

By living off just $1.50 per day for food for 5 days, you will be bringing to life the direct experiences of the 1.4 billion people currently living in extreme poverty and helping to make real change.

Think about that figure – 1.4 BILLION – that’s over 4 times the population of the United States – living every day in extreme poverty.

The Challenge: From April 29 to May 3, 2013, live below the global poverty line by eating and drinking on less than $1.50 a day — as 1.4 billion people on our planet living in extreme poverty must do every day. It sounds hard, but when you team up with your friends, family, or school club, it’s much easier. There is also a handy list of recipes on Live Below the Line’s website.

The Impact: This year, all proceeds will help the World Food Program provide school meals to kids in the world’s poorest countries. It costs just 25 cents to fill one of these red cups with nutritious food, like rice and beans. That means, if you help us raise just $250, you will provide 1,000 school meals for children all over the world! School meals have the power to break the cycle of hunger and poverty, by giving children the chance to learn, grow and reach their full potential. Who can say no to that!?

All information above from the World Food Program

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 10.22.55 AMYesterday’s call was opened by Dr. Jill Biden, Second Lady of the United States. Jill Biden has been an educator and military mother for many years. As a mother of three children, including WFP USA Board Chair Hunter Biden, and grandmother of five, Biden views many issues through the lens of a mother. Two years ago when famine struck the Horn of Africa, Biden knew she had to act. She wondered what she would do as a mother if she could not provide for her own children. There was no way a women like Jill Biden could sit back and do nothing about this tragedy so she boarded a plane and went straight to a refuge camp in the heart of one of Africa’s worst famines.

Biden realized that she needed to draw attention to the crisis and the best way to do so was to witness firsthand what this famine was doing to families. For Biden, it was a life-changing trip where she met mothers who had walked for days, traveling through very dangerous circumstances to try to reach the refuge camps where they could save their starving children. One mother told Biden that she had to make the decision no mother should ever have to make: Which child she would have to leave along the roadside to die because she no longer had the strength to carry them both. Biden made a promise that she would do whatever it takes to fight hunger. This week, Jill Biden is taking the Live Below the Line challenge along with her son. Although it is not easy to live on only $1.50 a day for food and drink, the small sacrifice that five days will make is the sacrifice over 925 million people make each day.

Per WFP USA President & CEO Rick Leach,  WFP provides school meals to 20 million children every year. School meals help improve children’s ability to learn and can help break the cycle of poverty. For just $0.25 a meal, school meals have the power to break the cycle of hunger enabling children to grow healthy, learn and have a better future. School meals also help girls go to school in countries where girls don’t always go.  It is amazing that such a small amount of money can have such a huge impact on the life of a child. Furthermore, hunger is not just a problem in the developing world. It also happens all too frequently here in the United States as well.

“Hunger is the world’s greatest solvable problem, but without your involvement and support, we cannot defeat it”.

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All photos credited to World Food Programme.

To learn more about Live Below the Line and how you can help, click here.


  1. even here in ecuador, where food is a good buy, that is a difficult goal – to limit to that figure. wihout fish or meat, it’s easier, and lentils make a very good substitute and take little time to cook. most vegetables are ia good value, thank goodness.

    i am about to be with a tour group for a few days but will try to see how frugal i can live for a week. thanks for the ‘kick’ – i was pondering doing this, and now i have more motivation! z

    1. Yes I can imagine. I thought about doing it but honestly have no idea how I would. I guess it is best to do it with a team and buy rice and beans. But no coffee would be hard. I can’t believe so many people live like this. It makes me feel so sad.

  2. Great post–I just became a volunteer at our local food bank. It’s astonishing how many children in our country are served by the breakfast and lunch program. It’s a crisis that we must solve. (I’m from Delaware, and so proud of the role the Bidens are taking in this global issue.)

    1. Yes it really is sad. ALso the food that is unhealthy like chips and soda is cheaper than fruits and veggies which is also really sad. I would love to volunteer as well at a food bank someday. As for the Bidens, I was so impressed by both Jill and Hunter. It is refreshing to hear about people doing so much good! Go Delaware!!! 🙂

  3. Inspirational post Nicole.
    Our planning commission tried to fix the poverty line marker for daily expenditure – not just on food and drink – at US$0.50 in urban areas (less in the villages)!!! After facing huge opposition, they have magnanimously increased it to US$1.25! That is still 60% of the population of a country that does not consider itself poor anymore! The divide is scary.
    I can’t promise to live below that figure, but I certainly shall try to cut down 🙂

  4. Nicole, I had planned to do this, but the problem is I’d have to swap houses with my neighbors. We cook with propane, so I’d have to add that into the cost. We have a water tower that supplies us with water now, and it was expensive to build, so I’d have to add that into the cost of preparing food. Really, I’d like to take this challenge, but instead, live in my neighbor’s little shack for a day or two.

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