“A hungry man is not a free man” – Adlai E. Stevenson
Nearly one billion people go to bed hungry every night and two million children die from malnutrition every year. We’ve made progress in other areas, but hunger remains the great scandal of our age. All around the world, including in the UK, people are struggling to feed their families.
It was exactly this situation that Jack Monroe found herself in, which is documented within this blog post, ‘Hunger Hurts’. The piece is a compelling read and makes clear the reality that is faced regularly by families across our nation.
Hunger is not a far-off, distant concept, defined by latitude or longitude. Hunger is not limited to the drought-ridden deserts of the Horn of Africa. The 1.2 billion people who are living below the extreme poverty line are not confined to the ‘poorer nations’ of the world. It is often caused by circumstances completely out with the persons control – from wars and natural disasters to unemployment or homelessness. The same situations are faced by people who live on your street.
Would you even recognise that person as they walk down the street?
The person who has lost a job and has not been able to find a new one fast enough – leading to struggling to make ends meet and the demands of rent and bills thumping at their door. Food becomes less of a priority when the roof over your head is under threat.
The family whose groceries come from a food bank, including the detergent they wash their clothes in. The same clothes that they have bought from a charity shop instead of the high street in order to save a few extra pounds for dinner that weekend.
In 2012-13 food banks fed 346,992 people nationwide. Of those helped, 126,889 were children. Rising costs of food and fuel combined with static income, high unemployment and changes to benefits are causing more and more people to seek out help and go to food banks.
In 2013, the government has promised to provide 0.7 per cent of national income. We must make sure they finally keep this promise. This year, UK Prime Minister David Cameron will host a Hunger Summit ahead of the meeting of the world’s most powerful leaders in the UK.
This is our best opportunity to tackle hunger.
Today is Day 2 of my Live Below The Line challenge (my first ‘working day’ of the challenge) and this is what it looked like.
I kicked off the day with my 6p breakfast of two slices of wholemeal toast and jam – eaten while simultaneously drying my hair before running out the door to work! Live Below The Line always prompts me to be a little more organised and to make sure that my lunch for the next day is ready the night before – which I duly did, and thankfully, remembered to pick it up from the fridge on my dash out of the door!
My morning at work was a challenge, with coffee and cakes in abundance around the office. I swiftly bypassed them all and settled at my desk while consuming a large bottle of tap water! I am trying to drink as much water as possible to make myself feel fuller during the day. I haven’t really planned to snack as I like to keep all my money for meals. If I am really craving something, there’s always my bread and jam.
My lunch was eaten at my desk – 2 of the veggie burgers I made yesterday (13p) plus some leftover rice (7p) and a drop of curry sauce from the bottom of the pan yesterday. By mid-afternoon (my usual ‘grab a snack’ time), I could feel myself craving something sweet. My office is based in the city centre, surrounded by Starbucks, shops and cafes. Just a walk out of the office would often mean money draining from my purse! The realisation of just how much I spend due to the ‘convenience’ of everything around me is alarming. Through Live Below The Line this year, it may prompt a bit more organisation and less reliance on the ‘convenience’ of my working location. At the end of the day, convenience is a luxury that many must live without.
For my dinner, I had three sausages (21p), roasted veg (21p), new potatoes (5p), herbs and splash of oil (5p) = 52p. This came to approx 540 cals of all roasted protein and vegetables and went down a treat.
There is still opportunity to either take part in ‘Live Below The Line’ or to sponsor someone who is taking part. My sponsorship page can be found here: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/elleenelle