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Step Into Someone Else’s Shoes

By Mandy Graessle

Mandy is a Young Ambassador for Opportunity in Houston, Texas and is Living Below the Line for Opportunity from April 29-May 3. Join her in the challenge, support her fundraiser, and learn more at https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/favouritethings.

I was raised with a sense of responsibly for my community; I learned that if I don’t do something to help to change my immediate community and world, no one will. I volunteer at soup kitchens, donate clothes and household items to those less fortunate, advocate for small, local non-profits I believe in and I invite others along for the ride.

However, I’ve actually never walked in the shoes of someone who’s been less fortunate than I have. When my best friend participated in the Live Below the Line challenge last year, I began to think about it in great detail. How much did it cost to drive a mile to work? How much did that plastic grocery bag cost to make? How much did the company spend every day on those single-serve coffee machines? How much food did I waste weekly? How much money did I waste daily on completely useless, obscene purchases? While I know we can’t live on $1.50 day with car expenses, cell phones, internet, electricity, toll roads – even the amount of water we use daily – I felt that I needed to try something. Could I, for five days, eat for $1.50/day? Could I only spend $7.50 at the grocery store for five days of food?

As I type this on my laptop connected to high-speed internet, check twitter on my mobile phone, have fresh produce from local farms delivered to my doorstep, enjoy filters attached to my faucet to triple-filter (already drinkable) water or drive my dogs to daycare, I know that I will struggle to Live Below the Line. How much can $1.50 buy? One soda from a vending machine? Clearly I couldn’t have happy hours with girlfriends or a pint of strawberries from the farmer’s market.

However, instead of thinking about it from my perspective, I decided to actually step into someone else’s shoes. It was then that I realized something really, really important: to some women and mothers in developing countries, that $1.50 could be the chance to change their world for them and their children; the chance at opportunity.

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