Starting on Monday, countess people are going to experience what it means to live below the poverty line.
And you can too – if you’re up for the challenge, that is.
The Live Below the Line initiative asks participants to live on just $1.75 a day for food from April 27 to May 1 to raise awareness for the fight against extreme poverty.
ONEXONE founder and Diesel Canada CEO Joey Adler is just one them.
This year, ONEXONE has signed on as an official charity partner with Below the Line. So not only will Adler live off the equivalent of $1.75, she’ll take it a step further and actually spend Monday to Friday on the streets of Toronto.
Of course, we hope you’ve already heard about ONEXONE before – and not just for their amazing hot-ticket events. The non-profit organization is focused on improving the lives of children in Canada, the United States, and abroad, as well as humanizing conditions in Haiti.
We caught up with Alder to hear more about how she intends to “live below the line.”
How did you get involved with Below the Line? Why the alignment with this initiative specifically?
I think we have an issue with accepting that extreme poverty exists in our own country. Live Below the Line deals with poverty worldwide, but what I wanted to do was to bring it back to our main focus, which is on how we can make sure children have all the opportunities in the world to do whatever they want to do. There are kids from poor families who live in poverty in our country. But first, let’s define poverty, because the poverty line in Canada is actually lower than it should be. For me, it’s about highlighting the children who are in need in our own country – who can’t go to school properly nurtured with the food and nutrition they need. When that happens, they can’t learn. Then they can’t achieve anything in school. If they can’t achieve anything in school, we are continuing the cycle of poverty.
How do you plan on making that $1.75/day count?
I’m sticking pretty much to bread and peanut butter, and maybe some hard-boiled eggs. I guess we’ll see how I can manage on that. I’ll buy it all at the start of the five days. The trick is making it last the whole time – kind of like when you get paid.
What is sleeping on the streets going to look like for you?
Well, I am only doing Monday until Wednesday because I have business in New York. Otherwise, I would be doing it for the whole time. To be honest, though, I don’t even know if I could do it for longer than that time. We’re going to be in Toronto, and we’re still finalizing locations. We want to be in an area where the majority of the homeless are young people. I want to talk to them and discuss things like what their childhood was like and what brought them to this. I believe simply talking to them will tell a greater story about what we’re missing.
What will you bring with you to the streets?
I have been walking the streets through different places just to get a better sense of the lives of homeless people. I was surprised that some of them are actually quite self-sufficient on the streets. For me, I’ll probably just bring an old knapsack with a sleeping bag. I don’t really want people to know that I’m not homeless.
What’s left the biggest impact in terms of all the work you do with ONEXONE?
I think that the most memorable experiences to date were the missions we ran after the earthquake in Haiti. We were there for seven weeks or so, and that’s a book in itself. It was really amazing.
Do you have any advice for young professionals wanting to start their own charity?
Do you want the honest truth? I would tell them to join forces with an existing one. I think that running a foundation is a very difficult thing and there are too many of us doing the same thing. I think what we need to do is to start to join forces and collaborate. If you have an idea, you should look into other existing organizations and join forces with them, and start your own program within it. Anything else makes no sense to me anymore. We’re seeing a bunch of competing organizations at the moment.
You can find more information on how you can participate in Live Below the Line here.