Living on just £1 a day: ‘I have to reuse tea bags’

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Lack of energy and cake cravings are being endured by Spalding’s Oxfam shop manager this week as part of a global ‘live below the line’ campaign.

Gary Peatling (43) is living on a £1 a day food budget to raise awareness of 1.2 billion people worldwide who have no choice but to live by a similar budget every day.

He said: “Five days isn’t too long compared to people in the world who live like this week after week.

“It’s the small luxuries you have to cut down on.”

Gary is limited to just one tea bag, reusing it until the tea leaves give up.

He’s also missing out on coffee completely and said meat is another expensive part of our diets which has to be cut on a tight budget.

The initiative, by The Global Poverty Project, is in its fourth year and also takes place in the USA and Canada. The extreme poverty threshold, set by The World Bank, has sat at £1 since 2005.

Last year was the first time Gary took the challenge and he said colleagues commented on his irritable mood in the final few days.

Ahead of this week he said: “I will be on a diet of potatoes and bread.

“It is very difficult to do some kind of jobs on limited nutrition. My work involves a lot of lifting and carrying.”

Since spending six months as a volunteer in Angola, Gary said he really appreciates the toll of living on a minimal rice and bean diet and undertaking hard, physical work, especially compared to his life at home.

He said: “I realised just how important a healthy, balanced diet is. It is hard to function physically and mentally on so little money.”

To kick off the challenge Gary invited people into the shop to share his last piece of cake on Saturday.

Customers could make any donation for a slice of cake, which Gary said tastes even better when you know it’s about to be taken away.

Gary would like to raise £100.

He said: “People live on less than £1 a day for all their most basic needs, not just food and drink. Live Below the Line is a not just a fundraising initiative but a way of raising awareness about extreme poverty.

“Surviving on £1 a day is a harsh and unnecessary reality and one that I want to help change.”

Gary will be keeping a video blog throughout his challenge, you can see and hear how he’s doing at www.spald