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Tompkins County woman tries living below poverty line for a week

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Tompkins County woman tries living below poverty line for a week
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A Tompkins County woman challenges herself to live below the international poverty line. The World Bank defines extreme poverty as living under a dollar fifty a day.

“I am making Dahl which is an Indian dish and it is very high in protein and very cheap,” said Elizabeth Shedd.

That is just about all Shedd had to go on for five days, Dahl with bread for lunch. For breakfast, she ate oatmeal and dinner she had chickpeas and roasted potatoes.

They are certainly not the meals she's used to grabbing throughout the day. She found out very quickly just how challenging her experience would be.

“I got really overwhelmingly hungry at times. I was having to read emails two or three times in order to retain stuff,” said Shedd.

Shedd pushed herself out of her comfort zone for the "Live Below the Line" challenge, a fundraising initiative through the Global Poverty Project. It aims to raise awareness about poverty.

The World Bank defines extreme poverty as living below 1.50 a day. Shedd was tasked with only eating and drinking at that limit.

“I was so grateful that I had the resources that I did, that included having a car that I could go around town looking for the best deal and access to the internet so I could get coupons,” said Shedd.

Everyday luxuries that many take for granted. Shedd's story is already starting a conversation.

“That's really impressive that that one person could do that. I get a coffee in the morning and that's already four dollars,” said Rachel Nichols, a resident of Ithaca.

Shedd's family and friends sponsored her during the challenge. They donated $350. The money will go toward the Global Poverty Project's partner organization - the Somaly Mam Foundation. They work to eliminate human trafficking of women and girls in Cambodia.

“All of us have the opportunity and the power to affect change and it doesn't have to be in the same ways. But we all have more power than we think we do,” said Shedd.

According to the Global Poverty Project, 1.2 billion people are living in extreme poverty around the world.

If you would like to donate to the Project or its partner organizations, just head to this link.

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