Introducing the Breadline Challenge

You know how people say one of the keys to achieving a goal like losing weight or giving up smoking is to tell everyone about it, so then you’re forced to be held accountable by your friends and family? Well, I’m about to share something with you for no other reason than the fact that I’m pretty sure if I don’t, I’m just going to wimp out of doing it!

I recently read about FoodCycle’s Breadline Challenge and decided I should participate. The challenge essentially involves living off £2.10 worth of food a day for one week, partly to raise money so that FoodCycle can continue serving meals to people in need, and partly to raise awareness of UK food poverty. You can read about the details of the challenge – such as where the figure of £2.10 has come from – by following the link above. I found the answer to the question Isn’t this just ‘poverty tourism’? quite pertinent:

We know that we’re only doing this for a week, and we have a light at the end of the tunnel [..] thousands of people in the UK […] don’t have this luxury. For them, it isn’t a ‘challenge’, it’s their life, and it’s an ongoing struggle for them to use that budget to feed themselves and their families. However, living on a small food and drink budget can be an eye-opening experience for many and we think […] it can help people to understand what it’s like to not have enough.

Gaining an insight into ‘what it’s like to not have enough’ is my main motivation for doing the challenge. Working with Crisis, the Trussell Trust and Southampton City Mission has given me an awareness of the circumstances that can lead to food poverty, but the more I read and blog about this subject, the more I realise it doesn’t matter how much empathy and understanding I have for the people I encounter whilst volunteering, when I have very little idea about what life can actually be like for them on a day to day basis. Amongst other things, I’m therefore hoping the Breadline Challenge will give me a fresh perspective on the hardships faced by the people I meet as a volunteer.

The challenge starts on Monday 24th November, which gives me some time to plan (and more to the point to cost!) my meals for that week. I’m looking forward to creatively trying to make my money go as far as possible, but that’s probably because I haven’t started yet and have only a vague idea of how difficult it’s likely to be! I’m sure I’ll enjoy reflecting on my experiences though, so watch this space for more Breadline Challenge posts over the coming month.

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