Hollywood may be accustomed to food fads, but most of its inhabitants are unfamiliar with the poverty diet – until now.
Actor Ben Affleck is planning to subsist on just $1.50 (£1) a day for five days next week, as one of thousands of participants around the world taking part in the Live Below the Line challenge, to raise awareness of global poverty.
“1.4 billion people live on less than $1.50/day,” the 40-year-old tweeted on Monday. “I’m joining Live #BelowTheLine on behalf of @easterncongo. Will you?”
Last year, the challenge attracted more than 15,000 participants, and this year expects at least 20,000. The campaign website advises people to spend their complete food budget of $7.50 at the start of the week. “We recommend doing research and creating a shopping list, sticking to generic stables such as pasta, lentils, rice, bread, vegetables, potatoes and oats,” it says.
Among those joining the Oscar-winning director of Argo in the challenge are actors Jonah Hill and Sophia Bush, singer Josh Groban and Justin Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun.
British star Tom Hiddleston completed the challenge earlier this month, tweeting the details of his meals over five days, which included baked potatoes, boiled rice, and an omelette with kidney beans. “Profoundly aware that to live truly #BelowTheLine I would have to forego many and various privileges,” Hiddleston commented. “I would have to surrender the roof over my head, gas, electricity, and clean, running water.”
Affleck is participating as part of his efforts to draw attention to the plight of displaced people in eastern Congo. In 2010, he helped to found the Eastern Congo Initiative, an advocacy group that aims to bring economic and social development opportunities to the people of the troubled region.