Next week, I’m going to try to live off of $5/ day for food.
Well, because a bunch of us from Grace Mennonite Church are, that’s why.
Why are a bunch of us from Grace going to spend just $5/day on food?
1) To raise awareness: $5/day is more than a single person on income assistance in Manitoba receives. They get just $3.96/day. Over the past several weeks, I’ve shared that number with a lot of people. The responses I have received have been priceless. People’s jaws have dropped, they’ve exclaimed “What!?!?!?”, and they’ve scrunched their eyebrows as they quickly calculated their last grocery bill (or Tim Horton’s run). On this count, we’ve been successful at raising awareness, as more people have told me why they CAN’T participate than why they can (usually for good reasons), but they are wishing me all the best and pointing out the best deals on food (thanks!).
2) Help us understand the realities many people face: Most of us participating in this challenge are not financially challenged. So while we all mean well, most of us simply don’t understand what’s it’s like to eat less, eat less healthy, and to spend so much energy thinking about what we’re going to eat. Jesus says a lot about living with and loving people who are “poor”. It’s probably a good time for some of us to try to understand a different reality.
3) To be better advocates: We understand that talking to government officials and/or business owners isn’t always easy. And we also understand real change is slow and messy. But at least we’ll be able to say: “Hey. Let’s talk about minimum wage and affordable housing not only in terms of economics, but also in terms of food accessibility and food bills.”
4) To examine our own decisions regarding our money and consumption patterns: In a world of plenty, we often don’t think much about where we are spending our money. How much do we actually need? Can we eat healthy with less money? Can people tell that I follow Jesus by my credit card statement?
5) It’s a spiritual discipline. For thousands of years, people have fasted. By being intentional about how much we consume, we’ll hopefully become more aware of God’s presence, both in our plenty and in our need.
So that’s why I’m going to try live off of $5/day. Feel free to join us, wherever you are. (And seriously, we’re not legalistic here… If you can’t do 5 days, do as much as you can. If you can’t do $5, do as little as you can. Our church’s name is Grace for Pete’s sake.) If you want to sign-up (or wish us well), click here and leave a comment!