Oscar winner Ben Affleck’s next project is a challenge aimed at raising money and awareness for global poverty. Next week, the star of “Argo” and “Good Will Hunting” is joining thousands of others around the world by living on $1.50 a day.
Live Below the Line bills itself as “a campaign that’s challenging the way people in the U.S. think about poverty — and making a huge difference.” The group’s Facebook page recently announced that Ben Affleck would be participating in this year’s Live Below the Line challenge, which requires participants to feed themselves on no more than $1.50 per day for five days next week, from April 29 to May 3.
The purpose of the challenge is to open eyes up to the reality that 1.4 billion of our fellow human beings on earth live below the extreme poverty line, currently estimated by the World Bank to be the equivalent of roughly $1.50 per day in the U.S. Last year, more than 15,000 people participated in the challenge, raising over $3 million in the process. More than 20,000 people are expected to participate this year, and Affleck is not the only celebrity on board.
A couple of weeks ago, it was announced that this year’s participants would include singer Josh Groban, actress Sophia Bush, and celebrity chefs Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos. This won’t be the first time Groban takes on the challenge. “Taking on this challenge last year was such a humbling experience for me, and I was so proud and heartened by my fans that joined me,” Groban said in a released statement. He even wrote a song inspired by the challenge for his new album. “I wanted to capture this in Below the Line, which was inspired by this experience. It’s amazing how much we take for granted not having to live in hunger, and I am honored to have been asked to help spread the word about this eye-opening campaign again this year.”
Now, Affleck, this year’s champ at the Academy Awards, is joining the cause as well.
A set of guidelines advises celebrities and everyday people how to take part in the challenge and not cheat. Your total five-day food bill shouldn’t go over $7.50, and you’re not supposed to rummage through the pantry for snacks, unless you factor how much the items cost into your total. Drinking lots of tap water is advised, and there’s no need to calculate how much it costs or add that into your budget.
(MORE: How to Live on a Dollar a Day)
Produce from your backyard garden is fair game, though complicated: “You can use food sourced from your garden as long as you can account for the price of production!”