1.2 billion people on our planet live on less than US$1.25 a day.* This money is not just for eating, but for ALL living costs. How do people get by with so little? I used to think that food must be cheaper in some parts of the world. This was proven wrong when my husband, Nigel, had a life-changing revelation while traveling. He discovered after visiting nearly fifty countries that countless foods cost about the same all around the world.** Of course there are variances but, generally, food is similarly priced for both the poor and the rich.
We live in Canada and one eye-opening fact for me is that Canada exports wheat to India - meaning that many living in abject poverty in India are paying more for their wheat than we do in Canada. If the poor are living off just over a dollar a day and paying the same amount of money for their food as we are then could we eat on a dollar a day too?
This stirring question met with an exciting opportunity we noticed in the movement we are part of called MoveIn. Our vision in MoveIn is to see thousands of regular Christians prayerfully and lovingly living among the unreached, urban poor globally. Today there are over 400 MoveIners in 13 countries, and we've noticed an exciting trend of MoveIners starting new ministries to meet the needs they have come across in their communities. These new ministries vary from providing education for children in Niger, to teaching disadvantaged children how to fix bikes in Sweden, to fighting sex trafficking in the Philippines, to supporting young entrepreneurs across the African continent. As the number of ministries kept growing, we began to wonder how we could encourage and support these exciting endeavours.
So... Dollar-a-Day was born! The vision is to spend only one dollar each day on all food and drink for one week. Our desire is to grow in understanding and compassion for the global poor as we live on less. We then give the money we would have spent on food to an exciting MoveIner-led ministry that is bringing hope to many living in poverty.
We tried this idea out in 2017 and were encouraged to have 18 participants. Together we raised $1,421.35 for eight different ministries. We are excited to see this event grow in every way each year (i.e., number of participants, amount of money given, and ministries given to).
Most importantly, Dollar-a-Day is a powerful reminder and annual refresher of how very much God loves the poor. This verse comes to life as we "fast" from our regular way of life for a week:
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” Isaiah 58:6-7
It's been an exciting journey and I hope you will consider joining us or re-joining us in future years!
By Jessie Paul
* United Nations Development Programme. "Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience." Human Development Report, 2014. Web Accessed October 7, 2018 at: http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/hdr14-report-en-1.pdf
** Simply put, like crude oil, they are global commodities.