I’m not the only one who is taking the $2/Day Challenge. There are lots and lots of COMMUNITY peeps who have decided to identify with the 20% of the world that lives in poverty by eating on only $2/day this week. I am so proud of our church and the people who have entered into this discipline so that God could increase their level of compassion for others. If you participated I would love for you to leave a comment and let us know how it is going and what you are learning. Here are some of the reactions and insights I have heard from others:
“As much as I want my comfort foods RIGHT NOW, I am grateful that I have a stocked refrigerator and pantry at the end of my week challenge. I know those in poverty do not. It puts a new perspective, and even enjoyment in eating the rice and almonds for lunch. It’s only day 2 and I am tired of my food choices. I notice this $2/challenge has me thinking a lot about myself first, before I am remembering those in poverty whom I am doing this for. I wonder, if by week end, will I be thinking of them first? Definitely, I will be praying for them more often and thinking of ways I can make a difference.”
“My first reaction to the $2/Day Challenge was, NO WAY! I am already sacrificing a lot; I can't do this to Family; we deserve to eat what we want. I now know that we can do this; I know I can do this, but only with the help of Jesus and the Holy Spirit!”
“The other day I opened my refrigerator and I started to (believe it or not) CRY! I said to myself LOOK AT ALL THIS FOOD! If I removed half of the food from this frig it would feed several families in poverty-stricken countries.”
“…I also realized how uncomfortable I became when my stomach rumbled throughout the day. This is a natural thing for lots of people who don't have the luxury to grab something whenever they want. I also found out how much I missed the taste of meat. This challenge has been a real eye opener, and very difficult to stick to. I can't even imagine how people have to live like this every day. I am soooooo thankful for what I have.”
“I’ve learned several things so far: 1. I can live on a lot less food than I thought. 2. People who live like this all the time don’t have the benefit of knowing it is only lasting one week and how dismal that must be. 3. Tempers flare on less food. 4. Bananas are way cheaper than apples!”
“I'm doing the $2.00 a day challenge and "challenge" is a good word for it! I'm doing it as a single person so I only had $14.00 to spend for the week. My first observation was how long it took me to pick out my $14.00 worth of food… One challenge I've run into in trying to stay true to the spirit of this challenge is the amount of "free food" we come into contact with here. Wednesday night at the Lemont launch meeting I had to stay clear from the food table; my women's group that meets tonight always has snacks that I'll need to pretend are not there and of course at the Sunday service, the free food and coffee will need to be avoided. Again, we take for granted the abundance of what we have offered to us everyday. On a positive note...my jeans are fitting a little looser!”
“I don't believe we had to go out and buy anything in particular to take this challenge. We had eggs, milk, canned corned beef, peanut butter, etc. My challenge has been that I have the onset of type II diabetes. This limits me to a very minimal carb intake per day. I mention this as I can imagine how difficult it must be for diabetics in these poor countries. They have to eat what they can get their hands on and can afford, so if you have something like diabetes it cannot be brought under control. Diabetics in these countries just have to have a disease like this slowly disable and finally kill them. Without medication and a proper diet, this type of diabetes will cause things like kidney failure, blindness and the like. Left unchecked and untreated these people would be sentenced to a short life span.”
“I'm a fitness tech and I suggest green tea to many ladies because it helps boost metabolism and curb appetite. Ironic. However I couldn't get past how much a tea bag was and how much less beans & rice I would be allowed for dinner if I had tea. <shakes head> Only a few more days. So many others don't have that finish line. God bless.”
Today is day #4 out of 7 of the $2/Day Challenge. I told Sue this morning, "Ok, I'm sick of this." And it's true; while eating on this little amount everyday is doable, I'm not enjoying it. But enjoying it does not mean I'm not learning some stuff. Let me tell you a quick story about peanut butter and then a couple more lessons learned so far. I was out of town for meetings the last two days and I made the decision to stick with the $2/Day Challenge even though i was traveling and in meetings. Sue packed me $4 worth of food for the two days in a plastic jewel baggy and I stuffed it into my carry-on for the trip. The people I was meeting with ate out all three meals both days. And they at at some very nice restaurants. I was surprised that even less enjoyable than watching them eat was them feeling bad and trying to rescue me. They had good intentions, but it was weird being noticed for not having anything to eat. I'm sure there is a lesson there. I need more time to ponder. But one of the staples of my two days was a small container of peanut butter. And on the second day I lost my peanut butter. I left it in the hotel cafe and when the table got cleaned off someone threw it away. I have never missed a few tablespoons of peanut butter before. That meant that my next meal would be only the bread and no peanut butter. Ugh!!
So, here are some more lessons I have learned so far through the $2/Day Challenge?
Food is precious. When you have only a little bit of food to live on, it becomes very important. I know that I'm using and re-using tea bags a second and third time to make sure I get everything out of them. I was really bummed when I couldn't find my peanut butter. Food is precious to those when you have very little.
There is stress and pressure to make the food last. This morning Sue said, "I'm not sure we are going to have enough to make it the whole week." I could feel myself react with slight panic, "What?" It hit me that for parents in third world countries, they live with the stress and strain everyday of trying to make food last for their family. They may not be thinking a week at a time, but I'm sure they are thinking about it everyday.
If you are doing the $2/Day Challenge or have done something like this, what lessons have you learned?
I'm 48 hours into the $2/Day Challenge; this is a challenge that we gave to all of COMMUNITY in an effort to help us identify with 20% of the world that lives in extreme poverty. I think it is working.
Today I saw a Dunkin Donuts sign advertising coffee for 99 cents. Normally, if I saw that sign and wanted the coffee, I would buy it. But since that was now half of all the money I had to eat on all day - I knew I could not afford it. And forget Starbucks!
First, while I am feeling grouchy, I am not going hungry. I really thought I might not get full on just $2/day. I think the reason I'm grouchy is because of how much less sugar I'm getting. It may be withdrawal.
Secondly, I am realizing that much of my eating is recreational. I eat for fun. When you have only $2/day to eat on you don't get to do any recreational eating. You eat for survival and not for fun.
If you are also doing the $2/Day Challenge or if you have done something like this, leave me a comment and tell me your reflections or learnings.
Starting Monday, January 10, and ending on Sunday, January 16, COMMUNITY attenders were challenged this weekend to eat on less than $2 a day. 20% of the world lives in poverty and nearly half of the world's population lives on less than $2 a day. That two dollars a day is for food, housing, school, transportation, medical emergencies, and all other expenses. The $2 a Day Challenge invites you to experience a little of what life is like by eating on less than two dollars a day for one week. To download a sample menu and suggested food items, click here.
Sue and I decided that the boys and i would take on this challenge. Over the next week I will update you here on this blog on how it is going and if I am learning anything from this experience or just feeling very hungry and cranky.
The first learning is that when you only have $2/day for food you are more concerned about having enough than you are about how it tastes and "recreational eating." So that we could get the most for our money Sue and her friend Mary went out to Aldi's and did some shopping for the week. Below is $40 of the $56 worth of food that we will be eating this week.