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Wake Up and Smell The Coffee

Our very own Beth from the Media Office is taking part in this year's challenge. Read about her journey below...

Some people don’t have a choice.

Poundland - the shop of dreams.

Box of Maltesers = £1. Dry shampoo = £1. Fairy Liquid = £1. Blu Tack = £1.

The word bargain seems to dance down the aisles.

I wonder if Poundland employees ever tire of shoppers asking ‘Excuse me, how much is this?’

The value of that little gold coin is about the get a lot more significant for me as I have agreed to Live Below the Line for 5 days between 27th April and 1st May. This means I can only spend £1 on all my food and drink for each day.

£1 a day.

Why £1 a day?

Because 1.2 billion people in our world live in extreme poverty. That means almost 20% of the world’s population live off £1 a day. This £1 has to cover food and drink, as well as housing, education, health and all other necessities most of us take for granted – my challenge, however, only covers food and drink.

Every morning I spend 85p on a ‘necessary’ coffee. If I budget that into my Live Below the Line shop it will leave me 15p per day to spend on food…I think the coffee will have to go.

Looking at my eating habits in general I realise that I am a grazer. I have a larder at work. This goldmine contains crisps, chocolate, oranges, biscuits. It’s my emergency food supply (and seems to be accessed every day). My larder is there for me when I get desperate in the long afternoons and concentration is rapidly dropping. Looking at my larder today these snacks amount to over £7…I think the snacks will have to go.

This really is going to be a challenge.

I feel like I am fairly responsible with my spending in general, but my ‘being responsible’ never really hurts me. It never really costs me.

I don’t impulse buy; I save for things I really want; I use leftovers when cooking; I wear clothes until they are worn out; I turn the lights off; I buy food for the local man sleeping rough; I give money to my church. I may choose to be responsible and sometimes generous with my spending but I am not sacrificial.

Some people don’t have a choice.

I have never chosen to go without before.

I have never done Lent or made a New Year’s resolution.

I have no real excuse.

Having just experienced Easter once again I have been reminded of Jesus’ journey to the cross. I am left in no doubt that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus was part of God’s plan.  God may not have nailed his Son to the cross but he allowed it to happen.

I can turn to God every day and find he’s a source of comfort and hope because he chose to become human through Jesus. He made the decision to experience life and death, the highs and lows, the temptations and joys of living in this world. This decision was not only the ultimate act of generosity but the ultimate act of sacrifice.

In reading about Live Below the Line I came across these words from Bonnie Wright, the actor who played Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter films and has been a supporter of the campaign for the past 3 years. She believes in Live Below the Line because ‘empathy is more effective than sympathy.’

When I think about Jesus’ decision to live and die I see a Saviour who is not just sympathetic but empathetic. He can minister to my needs, can offer me love, comfort and hope because He knows what it’s like to be me. He’s been there.

‘The Word (God) became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood.’

John 1, The Message

‘We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He (Jesus) has been through weakness and testing, experienced it all – all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.’

Hebrews 4, The Message

This inspires me.

I cannot truly know what it’s like to have to Live Below the Line but I can choose to become more empathetic by taking up the challenge.

I think sacrificing that 85p coffee isn’t too much to ask.



Live Below The Line

Take part in the challenge to tackle extreme poverty.

Live Below the Line

Beth's Page

Please donate to The Salvation Army to help bring an end to extreme poverty.

Beth's Page


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