Blog   /   Below The Line – Day 5 But what if today…

Below The Line – Day 5 But what if today…

Our family Below The Line experience has come to an end. We survived for 5 days with a $37.50 budget for food, for 5 people. But I almost feel it does not count; it is easy to “sacrifice” a week of your lifestyle if you can see the finish line approaching from day one. Yes indeed knowing that this experience was going to have a very short and minimal impact in our lives helped us stay on track during this very odd week. We had a little over $6 left yesterday morning for our final grocery. We managed to buy garlic, fresh basil, a small head of broccoli for the kids, and a partially wilted head of lettuce (which the Korean lady did not allow me to negotiate for). We cooked a fantastic Pappa al Pomodoro, we used all the stale bread we managed to save during the week; I still had to make my soffritto with vegetable oil and resisted stoically to the temptation of just reaching into my cabinet for just a little drizzle of olive oil.

All went well. The week is over, my 10 years old has finished her State Tests at school, my 7 years old only cheated once accepting an ice cream cone off a truck in front of her school… one of her friends’ fathers paid for it.

We are a bit tired but extremely proud. Our stomachs shrunk a bit. It is now Saturday morning, we are officially out of the “Below The Line Zone“, but nobody had breakfast yet… the dull headache I had for the past 3 days already kicked in. It is very strange, I know that it is a symptom of hunger, but my stomach it is not recognizing it as such. My guts are making all kinds of funny noises, I know that I need to eat, but I am borderline noxious. The only way I can describe the overall feeling is a mild hangover: you know, when you feel your body needs energy but you are afraid of testing your stomach because of what you did the night before… so you wait, you suffer a bit, and eventually you know that it will pass.

But all I can think of is: what if today was going to be like yesterday? What if tomorrow I still had to count quarters to figure out what I was going to feed my family with? What if I was a single father (or mother)? What if this was just the way, the Below The Line way that my life unfolded on a daily basis? It would really SUCK!

My heart and prayers are today for any single soul that struggles for food, anywhere in this World. I did a week. I think I have learned much and understood a bit. But today I am planning in grilling some pork ribs and finally share a beer with friends. And FUCK I feel guilty!!! I feel more guilt about exiting the tunnel and falling back into my “privileged” way, than happiness because I am going to see my friends and their kids.

Next week is the official “Below The Line” campaign. Debi, I and many other personalities from our industry have committed to participate a week before so we could share in advance our experience, raise awareness and hopefully bring in fans, family and friends to participate and help us in this incredible effort.

I am proud of my family, especially my daughters that never complained and managed to stick with the program for the whole 5 days run.

I am thankful for all the emails and messages of encouragement we have received in the past few days, I am happy to think that in a small way… a very small way, we have contributed a to the cause.

But still, today I will eat whatever I want. And just being able to say “What I want” gives me the chills!


  • Deanna

    I just read your daily posts regarding the campaign. It brought back childhood memories of not having food and knowing full well we were poor. I looked forward to school lunches as I knew it would be a meal as we never ate breakfast. A lot of times we would get to eat well at my grandmother’s house as she had a full garden and knew how to stretch a dollar to feed a large family. Thank you for reminding me to realize how blessed we are in this life and to remember to help those in need. I guess the biggest reminder is to never forget where you came from and never take for granted what you have now. At any time the rug can be pulled out and you can find yourself living below the line.