Living Below “The Line”


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MASON CITY, IA – It can be a challenge to figure out how much to spend on food each meal, but what if you only had one dollar and fifty cents for the entire day?

The “Live Below the Line” campaign challenges Americans to see if we can live one day below the poverty line between April 29 and May 3, something much easier said than done.

Spending $1.50 a day is the current equivalent of the accepted global figure used to define extreme poverty.

Basically, if you live on less than that every day, you’re recognized internationally as living in extreme poverty.

“Most of the people in fact probably 99 percent of the people who come here to the shelters and ask for shelter and care, do not have a dollar and a half a day,” said Joy VanZomeren, of Northern Lights Alliance for Homeless.

Joy is the Executive Director for the Northern Lights Alliance for the Homeless, and her job is to make sure those who ask for help receive it.

“People know how to survive and I know when people come to the homeless shelter and they do not have anything except a backpack or maybe not even that. We try to qualify them for all the services that we have in our community so that they don’t have to go without,” said Joy.

To spend only $1.50 is a challenge that many Americans face. Though there is help, community kitchens such as the one in Mason City are located in many cities across the US and their goal is simple, to offer for us all.

“There are places that you can go to get help and I hope people know that. We’re here to serve the community and we’re always happy to see new faces,” said Rebecca Higgins of Mason City Community  Kitchen.

While the challenge may not be for everyone, Joy says it’s an opportunity that’s hard to miss.

“People are real resourceful and they can take care of themselves if they have the skills and the knowledge to do that. Most of the people that come here are seeking for that knowledge and help and so that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Joy.

Joy and her employees will be taking part in the challenge throughout the rest of the week and she urges us all to. She says walking a mile in anyone else’s shoes can be tough but with homelessness, this is a world not too many of us are familiar with. Which makes matters even more difficult.

If you do take the challenge or have tips on ways to stretch the dollar, follow us on Facebook at KIMT News 3 and leave your comments.

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