I have received a few messages from concerned friends and strangers since I announced that I was extending the Live Below The Line challenge to use up the last of my £5 supplies, and I would like to try to alleviate some concerns.
I’d like to first thank everyone for their concern for my health – it is something I take seriously myself – and to clarify that I have sought advice from a dietitian about the challenge, who confirmed what I thought about my nutritional intake at the moment. It’s lower than it would ideally be, but I’m not at any real risk to my health if I continue for a few more days, and I will return to my normal eating patterns at the end of the challenge – which is higher in fruit, dairy products and protein than my current supplies!
I decided to continue with the challenge for two reasons, firstly because I am still fundraising for Oxfam, and secondly because I am finding it challenging on a personal level. People often level accusations at me about my normal food shop and lifestyle that ‘not everyone has a herb garden’ or cumin and paprika in the cupboard. I know. I have lived through worse – regular readers will know that in the worst days last year I missed meals for days on end just to feed my son. Those who don’t know the story, I recommend reading ‘Hunger Hurts’ on the front page of my blog.
People ask me what Oxfam will do to combat poverty with the money that is raised by me and others for the Live Below The Line campaign. Oxfam are currently part of a collaborative effort between charities called Enough Food If, which aims to tackle four main causes of food poverty, including education around nutrition and budgets, fair distribution, etc.
The difference between me now, doing this as a challenge, and me a few months ago, is that a few months ago I couldn’t just ‘quit when I felt like it’. I didn’t have a store cupboard to fall back on, I didn’t have the ability to just stop.
I’m glad people are concerned – but I have the luxury of choice this time around. I can choose to stop. I just haven’t yet. And I promise not to forget my lunch again.
To donate to Live Below The Line, a global poverty project, click here: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/agirlcalledjack
If you are taking part in this years Live Below The Line challenge and want to share your experience, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe