Living on $2.85 a day

Scott Macleod had his last proper meal Sunday evening and the 14-year-old will spend the next five days trying to live on $2.85 to raise money for the Tearfund Live Below the Line campaign.

Scott MacLeod
Scott with his Go To (cook)Book.

“So from this morning I’m giving up my usual food routine and will live on $2.85 every day until Friday.  My plan is to cook for myself – I’ll plan my meals the night before each day so there won’t be such a rush in the mornings.”

$2.85 is the amount people in places such as Cambodia, Nepal and Thailand live on a day, he says.

“Or less.  All the money raised goes towards the Tearfund charity and is used to help fight human trafficking.”

Tearfund estimate there are more than 21 million people trapped in slavery in Asia and the Pacific.   Over the last three years more than $340,000 has been raised by young New Zealanders taking part in the campaign.

Scott lives in Rototuna with his parents and is in Year 10 at Hamilton Christian School. He heard about the campaign at a school assembly:  “I decided to take part because it really appealed to me. I thought it would be awesome if I could start to make a change.”

He signed up a week later and then some friends joined him. “This way we can hopefully encourage each other to push through and not give up!”

His parents are right behind him – “They thought it was really awesome that I was doing this, they have also given me a small amount to help towards my funding. I think they might also help me with recipes and things like that.”

He has a copy of One Helping, a Tearfund book with recipes by New Zealand chefs such as Annabel Langbein, Simon Gault and Nadia Lim.

“This is full of recipes that each add up to a certain amount per serving, and you just live on that amount for five days. Most recipes cost about 75c to make.  The $ 2.85 can be used from things in your house like pasta, rice, soup, fruit, but you must work out the cost of each individual item and go from there.’

Scott was born in Africa and says having visited third-world countries is part of his motivation and inspiration.  “In the future I may want to be involved in an organisation like Tearfund because I admire what they do and what they are standing up for.”

His final meal on Sunday night was hamburgers followed by fruit salad and ice cream.

“I think my hardest challenge will be the temptation to have a bit more food, or even just going over budget. It is good having some of my mates doing it beside me so we can help each other out.”

He is trying to raise $450.  “I will need to work hard in order to get there, and the more money I raise, the more lives are saved. I really hope I reach my goal.”

To visit Scott’s page click here.

Visit Tearfund Live Below the Line page here.

The Live Below the Line 2016 campaign has raised $54,221 as of Monday 19 September.  Scott’s fundraiser has contributed $138.

  • Each day we’ll check in with Scott and see how he’s doing – how much he’s raised and what he’s been cooking.  Come back here to find out.


Monday 19 September:

Today I was feeling quiet hungry but I had to push through and I was really eager for dinner!
Breakfast: banana and cinnamon oats, 50c
Morning tea: an apple, 30c
Snack: 2 pieces of plain white bread, about 10c
Lunch: miso soup and steamed rice, $1
Dinner: potato and baked beans, 60c
And a little sneaky pudding, 2x peanut butter and chocolate cookies, 28c
Total:  $2.78

3 weetbix and milk, 40c
an apple, 30c
2 peives of bread, 5c
vegtable soup, 80c
Bannana, 30c
2 slices of pizza, 90c

3 weetbix and milk, 40c
orange, 40c
apple, 30c
onion soup, 90c
jacket potato and beans, 60c
chocolate custard, 38c
(I went sliighly over but I had money left from other days!)

2 hash browns,2 sausage and egg, $1.2
apple, 30c
vege curry and indian rotti, 60c
4 weetbix and milk, 50c

(I have been mostly good except for Tuesday when I had low blood sugar and almost fainted but sucked a sugar cube and was alright. I have learnt to drink heaps of water – this sustains you.)

Today I finished at lunch time.
This is what I had:

40-second omelette, 50 cents
apple, 30 cents
hand full of nuts, 80 cents
Cup of onion soup,90 cents

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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

One thought on “Living on $2.85 a day

  • September 20, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    Keep going Scott! A great start 🙂


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