Wow, October was such a busy month for us with some incredible events! Read on to find out what we have been up to including taking part in the Live Below the Line challenge run by the Hunger Project, the Quiz Night to raise money for the Whitechapel Centre, the Lets Be Ethical Night, AND our new Just Lunch series which are held at the lovely Faith Express. Oh and we have jumpers made by Know the Origin! This is an exciting blog post everyone;)
First up, lets talk about Live Below the Line
“If we don’t help to end hunger, who will?” (John, JLL President)
From the 16th-20th October, a group from the Just Love Liverpool team took part in the Hunger Project’s ‘Live Below the Line’ challenge. This involved living on £1 worth of food and drink a day for 5 days, with the aim of challenging people to live below the poverty line, to raise awareness and funds to help others rise above it. The team set up a Just Giving page and by the generosity of sponsors, raised an amazing £867 for the Hunger Project, a global, non-profit, strategic organization committed to the sustainable end of world hunger. Their vision is “a world where every woman, man and child leads a healthy, fulfilling life of self-reliance and dignity”.
Live Below the Line proved to be a very challenging week, but also one where a lot was learned. Here are some reflections from the participants:
I initially didn’t think that live below the line would be too difficult. I thought that Aldi would provide me with a week of yummy food, just a bit less than usual. However, I was very wrong and Live below the Line proved to be a brilliant challenge in a variety of ways. The food was repetitive, boring and flavourless, and totally took the enjoyment out of eating. I realised how much food can be relied on for pleasure and satisfaction and that it is a luxury we so often take for granted. I guess I realised how lucky we are to have the choices that we have, and how hard it would be to live in such poverty that even simple choices like food consumption, becomes out of your control. I struggled with 5 days of living with below-average food, but how can I complain about my mouldy bread and gross jam when people across the world probably haven’t even had the luxury to taste even that? We by no means had a taste of poverty in that week but it did shake my perspective and attitude towards food, consumption and those living below the poverty line. (Danielle, Second Year)
Living below the line was a massive challenge in ways I didn’t expect. I had thought that my normal shopping and eating was a cheap student lifestyle, but what living below the line showed is just how luxurious my life usually is, and how even though I thought I did, I don’t really consider what I spend on food. (Alex, First Year)
I went into Live Below the Line with a surprisingly big Aldi shop, feeling confident I’d have enough food. However, by Tuesday I was already fed up of spaghetti and I’d had to start rationing my custard creams. Midnight on Friday couldn’t come quick enough… but if I have taken anything away from the week it’s the fact that, for a lot of people, living off a £1 a day isn’t a choice. (Hannah, Second Year)
The ‘Live Below the Line’ challenge, really made me see food poverty in a different light. From caffeine withdrawal headaches to eating jam straight out of the jam jar, I was confronted with the harsh reality that I relied far too much on food and drink to get by.
While I was at the peak of my hunger, I remember a homeless guy asking me for food. Despite the rumblings in my stomach, I decided to grab him a cheeky McDonald’s. After some discussion, he told me that for weeks he had no idea where his next meal was coming from and that he relied solely on donations. I then realised that a challenge like this only scratches the surface of what many go through. Even though I was struggling, I still had control over what I ate and knew when I would eat next. All in all, I will certainly never forget this experience and will definitely try and consume a lot less coffee! (Tiria, Third Year)
LBTL was a fun and eye-opening experience!! Each day brought new challenges, from caffeine withdrawal symptoms to intense sausage-cravings. My brain kept flicking to my internal countdown of ‘2 more days until I can have chocolate’, ‘1 more day until I can have a cup of tea’. For those doing LBTL there was an endpoint we could focus on and eagerly await. However, for so many around the world, this is their daily existence- all they’ve ever known. That’s what really struck me. (Alice, Second Year)
I found Live below the Line a challenge, especially because I didn’t get to choose what food I
could eat each day- having the option was definitely something I took for granted. It meant being hungry a lot of the time and not having the ability to eat what I wanted, when I wanted. However, when I thought about the reasons why I was doing it, it made the whole thing a lot easier, as I knew there were people with far less money than I had. (Hannah, First Year)
When I first heard about Live Below the Line, I didn’t realise how difficult it was going to be. I started to see it wasn’t going to be quite so easy as I tried to do my £5 shop, when even after spending a few hours researching and a shopping list in hand, I found myself having to re assess and count the pennies at the tills. Lack of sleep, a cold, and a failed first meal set me up for a rough first two days, feeling hungry, emotionally drained and desperate for a bit of flavour. I was surprised how much it affected me in everyday activities, like going to the gym and focusing during lectures (and that was during a less busy week). The week got easier as my body began to adjust, and I figured out better ways to cook the food in order to make it slightly more appetising. However, the main thing that kept me motivated was counting down the days until the end… a luxury those living under the poverty line do not get. The fact I found the challenge so difficult when we by no means lived a representation of the poverty line, was eye opening and has definitely changed my perceptions of food waste and food poverty. Reflecting on the week, I’ve realised how blessed I am and how the things we so often take for granted as a ‘given’, like knowing where your next meal is coming from or having choices in the supermarket, would be a luxury for so many people in our world. (Aimee, Second Year) sing with uni work.
Even though it’s been challenging I am so grateful for the opportunity to do it alongside an amazing, encouraging team and the whole thing has really changed my perceptions of food waste and food poverty, especially when we lived such a luxury version, always knowing when our next meal was coming.
Live Below the Line was hands down one of the hardest experiences of my life. I would argue that even going without food for 1 day, is harder than eating such a limited amount for 5. It was a hugely humbling experience walking into a supermarket and not being able to buy whatever you fancy. The caffeine withdrawal was so real as well! All in all, I learnt that I need to depend more on God and less on coffee; to be more grateful for the massive blessing of food at our fingertips, as well as being challenged to think more about food waste. This challenge was tough, and we didn’t even have to use our £5 to cover bills etc. It was a mere reflection of the awful realities that too many people face every single day. If we don’t help to end hunger, who will? (John, Second Year)
Just Giving page – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/justloveliv
The Hunger Project – http://www.thp.org/
Live Below the Line – http://www.thehungerproject.org.uk/getinvolved/live-below-the-line/
Well, we all came to set up for the Quiz Night and Hannah and Dani walked into St James in the City with oodles of cake. Pure delight spread across our faces knowing we could eat them! They were delicious.
Hannah who is head of our Local Stream ran the event and was brilliant!
Hannah started off her introduction by reminding everyone of our tagline which is to “Inspire and release every Christian student to the Biblical call to social justice”. So the Quiz Night was all about raising money for the Whitechapel centre which is a charity that helps the homeless in Liverpool. Every penny raised went to the Whitechapel centre.
Before we began the quiz Hannah and Dani told everyone about the raffle prizes which were all ethical and sustainable, some of which were Fairtrade wine, co-op cafitiere coffee and a beautiful necklace handmade by a survivor of sex trafficking; reinforcing that the fun and games of nights like this are all with the goal of raising money for and tackling very serious issues of social injustice.
The quiz was a lot of fun and laughter with some great competition. We were so pleased with the turn out and that people were inspired to learn about the Whitechapel centre and the important work that they do. You can find out more about then via their website https://www.whitechapelcentre.co.uk.
Let’s Be Ethical Night
Fabulously organised by Tee, our Personal Co-ordinator
Dewi our Treasurer and Secretary has written about the Lets Be Ethical Night.
For our latest event in Liverpool, we held “Let’s be Ethical” evening to encourage people to think about the Biblical approach to their daily habits, sourcing of food and approach to waste. We all meet at Tiria’s place, relaxed with an ethical meal and began the evening by enjoying some fellowship together and discussion. It was great to meet with people I hadn’t met as of yet and find out what inspires them and why they are getting involved with Just Love. I am always surprised at the enthusiasm and commitment of the team and how they are so boldly stepping in to the social justice arena. With every new event, Just Love Liverpool feels more and more like a community of people, it really is true that Jesus is amongst us when we gather in His name.
After the meal, we watched a promotional video by Just Love Manchester to get us thinking about the night ahead. The aim of the evening was to discuss and think about the ways in which we can adapt our lives to live more ethically and sustainably; whether by food, clothing, transportation methods or wastefulness. John got us thinking about the importance of taking care of our environment by getting us to contemplate different Bible passages around serving others, taking care of the planet and what it means to have ‘dominion’ as God’s creation. This lead to some amazing dialogue between the team and it really got us thinking as to the challenges that face us as the Church and organisation. After the dialogue had finished, we kicked off the main event of the night – stalls (because everyone loves a good stall)! Stalls ranging from ethical clothing, facts about waste and sustainability and food were set up and people were encouraged to explore and discuss with each other the different things they came across throughout the night. Once the main event came to a close, as churches, we came together and thought of the ways we could begin to implement changes within our churches to encourage ethical and sustainable living along with the potential problems we would come across. Finally, as a team we prayed that we would see God move within our communities and encourage our hearts to pursue ethical living and the Biblical call to social justice.
Overall, it was an encouraging event and I am sure that the Just Love community can expect to see more of this in the future. Keep a look out for the next one!
Just Love Lunches!
To give you a taste of what we have been doing I’ll tell you about the 4th October! So a bunch of others gathered at Faith Express and on the menu was tomato soup as well as carrot and coriander soup with some delicious French bread.
We bought these from the cooperative where everything is sourced ethically and sustainably. We looked at a study by IJM about looking at social justice from a Biblical perspective, focusing on the book of Micah. We discussed the social injustice in the world and prayed for those who are oppressed. We felt it was right to pray for the oppressors as well in that they would seek help and realise their wrongdoings.
These lunches take place on Wednesday’s every two weeks at Faith Express. Good food, good company, and a great chance to get together to learn about God’s heart for social justice.
The final segment of this blog post is to tell you about the Just Love Jumpers!
They are from Know the Origin who are a Fairtrade and organic brand. According to Know the Origin ‘India grows 18% of the world’s cotton, normally with a huge amount of toxic chemicals and GM seeds’. Farmers have fallen into debt, leading to 300,000 farmers committing suicide across India.
Know the Origin runs two farmer-run cooperatives in India and ‘ensure farmers get a fair and stable price for their crop (often 30% more).’ The cooperation with Fairtrade means that local communities are supported, there is better education, ‘safe drinking water’ and women have ‘self-help groups’. ‘Food stability’ is also created by training the farmers to grow food alongside crops.
So, Know the Origin are the perfect company to promote for their sthicsand sustainability and we are more than thrilled to support them.
So that was our October! It was so great to see so many people there with an interest in learning about what we do and how important it is to be thinking about tackling social injustice personally, locally and globally.