What $10 can do (Lessons from Lent)

What $10 Can DoHave you ever thought your chump change couldn’t change a life?

In the comment section of last week’s post, I mentioned that I was observing seven types of fasts during the course of Lent this year. (Care to join me? Tell me in the comments below and I’ll add you to our virtual book group.)

As part of my “food fast” last week I tallied the cost of the food I ate each day. This cultivated in me new mindfulness of not just the expense, but of how readily I buy food for convenience, not nutrition or need.

It’s just $10. Or is it? 

On average, I spend $10 to feed myself on a daily basis. Certainly, that number can reach much higher if I’m out for a celebratory meal. Yet after collecting data for seven days, the number most often hovered around $10. As an American — one who’s never had to worry about paying for food — that number doesn’t seem terribly high to me. (Especially since a Red Robin Banzai Burger costs nearly that much alone!) As part of really internalizing these lessons, I had to garner some perspective:

  • The average global citizen lives on less than $2 per day. Some live on much less. That figure has to cover more than just food; it needs to clothe, educate, house, treat disease and transport, as well.
  • Even assuming all $2 could be spent on food, my cost is five times that of the global average. If I multiplied my daily figure five-fold, that’s $50 — a healthy corporate per diem. If my family of five was fed for a week at $50 a person, that means I’d have $1750 to spend at the grocery store each week. I.cannot.even.fathom.that. Seems preposterous, doesn’t it? My $10 a day would evoke a similar reaction to someone living on $2.
  • Children’s Hunger Fund supplies meals to the hungry the world over for just $0.16. The cost of my three daily squares would supply more than 62 meals. Sixty-two. One of the favorite meals I’ve ever shared with my family was over nothing more than empty plates and ice water. Read that story here.

Also during this week, I’ve been following a friend’s journey to the Philippines with Wipe Every Tear. He’s shared his first-hand account of the dark underbelly of sex trafficking. So many young girls — and I do mean y.o.u.n.g — are sold into slavery to help a family buy… wait for it… food. Predators bait parents and grandparents, who live in dire poverty, with the promise of jobs for these girls and an end to hunger for the family. My friend used social media to ask folks to come alongside these victims through sponsorship for the mere cost of $35 per month.

Then I flashed back to the book.

FORGOHatmaker’s church (Austin New Church) gives away half of all they receive in offerings.
In the same spirit, I planned to donate the amount I spent on food to the hungry.
Without batting an eyelash, I consumed $70 worth of food last week.

$35 per month to sponsor a young girl fresh from trafficking
$35 x 2 = $70

Sometimes you just know what you need to do.

Please share:

Please share!
    • Emerald clarkston

      I would like to be added to the virtual book group for lent! Thanks.

      • Kirsten

        Welcome, Emerald! You should have a FB invite to the group in your notifications. Be sure to go visit the group and set the group notifications so you’re certain to see all the dialog. Thanks for joining us.

    • http://www.uptoknowgood.com Sara

      This is so thought-provoking. I will need to spend some time in prayer about my response and responsibilities. Thank you for helping me think way outside my box of Colorado and suburban Denver life.

      • Kirsten

        Be sure to link back and tell us how you moved in response, Sara!

    • http://forgo.it Scott

      Thank you for this beautiful blog. Today Is my first morning back in the states and I am trying to process everything I saw over the last 9 days. I saw both ends of the scales…beauty/transformation vs dark/evil. I’ve never been so clear on my journey with Forgo as I am right now. I don’t where I’m going to run it from, but its clear that my job is to help people understand just how much we consume and more importantly, what that can do for Justice movements in the world. Thanks again.