By Lydia Hollister-Jones, Communications Intern

Trying to talk a friend into joining Live Below the Line

ChildFund's Grace thinks you should join Live Below the Line

1. I’m too busy

The ‘too busy’ friend is a hypochondriac when it comes to stress; let’s call him/her “Stressed out Softie.” This friend can always be relied upon for tears over stubbed toes and sobs over split milk. They aren’t too busy; they probably just have poor time management and a serious case of self absorption. But shh, don’t tell them I said that, for our wee Stressed out Softie, we’ll tailor a fairly gentle rebuttal.

People living in poverty are busy in a way that you and I will never know. They’re busy fighting for life against extreme odds; they’re busy trying to provide for their families on a miniscule (if any) budget, and they are left without a choice in how busy they are. They can’t say no to the fight for survival, they can’t say no to scavenging food for their children; they don’t have a choice in living below the poverty line. The stress that you’re experiencing from your over-involvement in your twenty-something daughter’s love life has nothing on the stress that comes from not knowing where your next meal is coming from. Busyness can’t be an excuse this time round.


 2. I’m on a diet

Meet “Skinny Schoolmate,” the frustrating friend who delicately chews celery while you overeat your way to happiness. If you’re offered this flimsy excuse, introduce her to the best diet yet.

Great! So am I! It’s called the “Live Below the Line” diet, and it’s amazing. It sheds the weight of poverty for millions of people, and you’ll have a gorgeous glow of generosity about you if you sign up. The best part, you ask? You get to be a part of an effort to change the world as we know it, and that’s something that will last (unlike your waistline.)


 3. It’s too extreme

Again, we’re back to a bit of a tender tot; let’s call this one “Fragile Friend.”But never fear! Our fragile friends are definitely capable of coming around, and we think they’ll get on board if you tell them a similar story to the one we told our Stressed out Softie.

1.2 billion People live in extreme poverty, so yes; I can understand why you think it’s extreme. What’s so extremely crazy about it is that you don’t have to do an awful lot to make an extreme difference.  All you have to do is Live Below the Line for 5 days get your friends to give generously, and there you have it: An extremely doable way to make an extreme contribution to the eradication of extreme poverty. Hey Fragile Friend, you can do it!


4. My Mum/girlfriend/goldfish thinks it’s a bad idea

Meet ‘People Pleaser,’ our latest addition to the lame excuse team. The key with people pleaser is to appeal to his people pleasing nature (I’m not just witty; I’m brilliant at emphasizing alliteration too. Try reading that sentence aloud!)

Really People Pleaser? Well I think that’s terribly sad that Alfie the goldfish doesn’t think it’s a good idea to join the fight against poverty- I think it’s the best idea you’ve ever had! If you get involved, you have the power to make a huge difference to the lives of millions of people. Imagine how many people you’d please then!


 5. I’m obsessed with chocolate

Chocolate Chum: otherwise known as most teenage girls and stressed out singles. You’ll get a swayed vote with a bit of sympathy followed by some serious straight talk (I speak from experience, I’ve lived in both categories for several years and speak the language fluently)

I know Chocolate Chum, it’s tough to think about giving it up for 5 days. But do you know what’s tougher? Being hungry and not having enough to eat. It’s tougher to have a belly that’s so swollen due to malnutrition that you can’t see your big toe anymore. It’s tougher to ache and to stumble with weakness because you can’t remember the last time you knew you had food coming.  If you give up your chocolate for a mere 5 days, you could play a part in changing that tough reality for so many. That’s a worthy cause if ever I heard one.


6. It’s my best friend’s birthday

Ah, “Flimsy Friend” aka. the friend who doesn’t have an excuse but is scrambling for one nonetheless. Luckily (Because she’s struggling for shaky ground to stand on,) she’s fairly simple to respond to.

Oh, how lovely for your best friend! I’m sure she won’t mind if you don’t consume cake at her party, all the more for her. You could even get her an extra special gift! Tell her that the money you would’ve spent on a present for her is going towards a global effort to eradicate extreme poverty.  That’s a gift she, and so many others, will never forget.


7. It’s my birthday

Your friend ‘Birthday Buddy’ presents us with a usually usable excuse. I say usually usable because it’s acceptable for things like “I’ll see you at your sister’s ballet recital on Thursday, right?” or “Can you get the bill?” or even “Could you wear something other than your pajamas today?” but this time, Birthday Buddy won’t even want to play the “It’s my Birthday” card. This is because you’ll sell it to them, you silver tongued thing you. Live Below the Line: The Birthday Celebration of a lifetime.

Happy Birthday! 7 million kids don’t make it past their 5###sup/sup### Birthday every year, so I can understand why you’d want to celebrate in style. Have a Live Below the Line party! It’ll be the most inexpensive party you ever throw, and you’ll be doing something that really matters. Get creative with your theme, ask your friends to leave their cell phones at the door and share a meal on the floor, ask guests to donate to your Live Below the Line campaign instead of bringing you another average gift that you have to pretend to like. I think you’ll be surprised at how much you can actually enjoy the company of one another when you aren’t trying to take the perfect picture of your overpriced undersized meal to upload to instagram or trying to come up with a witty tweet about how you’re another year older but not wiser lol (because apparently that’s a cool thing to say?)

Birthday buddy, make your birthday count for something.


 8. I do ‘heaps’ of ‘stuff’ for charity

Perhaps the easiest excuse to respond to is our friend, ‘Charity Comrade.’

A short, sharp response is all that’s needed for this do-gooder to get involved in Live below the Line.

Good! You’ll be an expert at this, and you’ll know how important it is to get involved in things like Live Below the Line. Can’t wait to see how you’re going to fundraise thousands of dollars with your extensive experience and great wealth of knowledge!


 9. I’m a poor student

Meet our friend, ‘Poor Pal.’ Poor pal is a poor student and initially believes that doing the Live below the Line challenge will be an expensive experience. Don’t fret, the facts alone will get Poor Pal on board.

Don’t worry Poor Pal! Live Below the Line asks you to live on less than $2.25 a day, so you’ll be spending even less than you usually do on your groceries for the week. And, not only will you be spending less, you’ll be making more of a difference. That’s a win for you, Poor Pal!


 10. There’s no good reason why I should

Let me start by saying, if you’re friends with this person, you should probably get some new friends. Enter ‘Mean Mate.’ Mean Mate might take a bit of talking round, but I’m sure with your charisma, dreamboat eyes and meaningful mission, you’ll melt away some of Mean Mate’s ice cold heart.

There is no end to the list of good reasons why you should live below the line, but at the end of the day it comes down to one good reason: people are in trouble and you have the chance to do something about that, so do it. People living in poverty are just like you and I, they’re just like your 6 year old nephew and your annoyingly adolescent sister. They love without condition, regardless of circumstance- the way your mother loves you. They love with the depth that you love your husband or your wife; they vow to protect and to serve their family just as you do. They grieve loss of the ones that they love just as you do, except they have to face it every day. In the face of extreme hardship, people living in poverty fight to survive. Join that fight on their behalf, join  Live Below the Line

Grace enjoying some food


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