Ruth is the human interest reporter and a photographer for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Tauranga group living on $2.85 a day

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Rob Williams and Cate Burton are eating only $2.85 of food each day for five days to support Living Below the Line. Photo/John Borren
Rob Williams and Cate Burton are eating only $2.85 of food each day for five days to support Living Below the Line. Photo/John Borren

A group of Tauranga residents plan to live on $2.85 a day to help others in South East Asia living below the poverty line.

Tauranga resident Rob Williams is taking part in the 2016 Live Below the Line challenge with a group of nine others from St Peters Youth in Tauranga. It is the fourth time Mr Williams has taken on the challenge.

For five days this week, he will live on just $2.85 a day to help raise money and awareness of victims of human trafficking in South East Asia.

He is living off basic foods such as porridge, peanut butter sandwiches and tinned spaghetti.

So far $1,307.96 had been raised for TearFund from the group. They were aiming to raise at least $1000.

Mr Williams said there were two reasons to support the Live Below the Line challenge.

"To try and understand what it would be like to live in poverty. It's based on the idea of living on $2.85 a day for all your food which represents the international poverty line.

"That reflects on what people have to live on, not just their food but all their basic living costs.

"The other part is to get people to sponsor you and to fundraise for the cause. There are a whole bunch of different causes but we have chosen to support TearFund and their work to free young girls from human trafficking and sexual slavery."

Mr Williams said porridge, sandwiches and tinned spaghetti were his main meal options for the five-day challenge.

"Because they are cheap and filling. I like variety in food and to snack a lot but you don't get that with this because the budget doesn't allow for it.

"You just have to lump it for the cause and get flavour where you can, half an apple here or there to cut through some of the blandness of the carbs.

"It is hard sometimes because you are just eating bland food, and less often than you would normally eat."

Water was free, so he and his group could drink as much as they wanted, he said.

The group started the challenge on Monday, and it will end on Friday.

On Monday, Mr Williams had half a cup of porridge and half an apple for breakfast.

For lunch he had a peanut butter sandwich with another half an apple.

Dinner was tinned spaghetti and toast.

Breakfast and lunch would be the same each day while two dinners would be swapped out for potato, sausage and peas.

"Meat is pretty expensive so you only get a little bit so often."

To support St Peters Youth, click here.


TearFund is a faith-based aid and development organisation. They combine the inventiveness of our local team with international partners to unlock potential and bring about real change in the lives of people most in need.

Learn more at

- Bay of Plenty Times

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