Millions of pounds will have been spent in restaurants across the country last night as couples celebrated Valentine's Day. Yet children all over the world live below the poverty line, on less than £1's worth of food each day. Helen Bennett from UNICEF UK's fundraising initiatives team sensed a challenge...
This year, to raise awareness of child hunger, UNICEF UK is taking part in the Live Below the Line campaign. It asks people like you and me to buy all their food and drink for £1 a day for five days.
As a member of the fundraising initiatives team , I'm always up for trying out new fundraising ideas, and my other half usually gets roped in too.
With Live Below the Line in mind, I decided to try a new take on Valentine's Day that I thought he might like. Yep, this Valentine's Day we're dining in for £2.
I'll be taking part in Live Below the Line in its official week, 7 – 11 May 2012, but I thought I'd see what my £1 could buy on Valentine’s day.
The boyfriend is not big on Valentine’s day. Mainly because his birthday is the day before, so 14 February usually involves romance and a hangover – two of his least favourite things. However, learning that he only had to spend £1 wining and dining me, he perked up.
So, £1s in hand, we set off to the cheapest place we knew – Dalston, East London. Being an architect, my boyfriend decided he would go down the weighing and measuring route – calculating exactly how much rice, onion and stock – he would need to make his slightly creepy sounding ‘romance risotto’. He managed 28p per 100g, one onion 19p and stock 8p for one stock cube.
I, on the other hand, adopted the less-is-more approach, and being far less good at maths, opted for one mango (72p) and one lime (12p) – a delicious desert with 12p to spare!
Needless to say, the challenge gave us a lot to think about. It's hard work living below the poverty line. Making yourself feel full and getting nutrients is practically impossible. In the developed world, food is often an indulgence, a pleasure and a luxury. But when you only have £1 spend, you see it simply as fuel. Experiencing this for just one meal has given me a small insight into what it must be like for a child living below the poverty line. And it's made me realise again how vital, urgent and life-saving UNICEF’s work really is.
By taking part in Live Below the Line for UNICEF, you can use your pound to prevent poverty.
Sign up now and help us feed hungry children.
Helen Bennett is a Community Fundraising Initiatives Officer at UNICEF UK