I am the chairman of the board for the United Way of Northwest Arkansas. I have been part of the research, the discussions…I know that poverty is lurking around each corner in Northwest Arkansas. While I have never experienced it, my heart breaks when I hear the stories, see the statistics and look into the faces of children that go hungry in our otherwise affluent community.
When Kelsey and Alexa asked me to participate in the Poverty Challenge, I said “yes” without hesitation. I knew it would be hard, but I knew it would be worth it.
$5 a day…I have been known to spend that on a cup of coffee. How would I change my behavior, my eating habits, to meet this challenge? Add to the equation the fact that I am diabetic and typically eat a lean high protein and fresh vegetable diet? I naively thought I would be able to “shop the exterior” of the store and buy fresh food. Boy, was I wrong. I found myself having to buy dried beans and rice to get enough food to make it through the week. I did buy a couple of proteins (chicken thighs and ground beef), but will have to stretch those items. I will each more pasta this week than I have ever eaten in one week, which will mean more insulin each day than I normally take. What would that mean if I were truly living in poverty and had to decide between paying for food and paying for my medicine? Fortunately, I don’t have to make that decision this week. But I promise you that every time I inject myself before eating a high carbohydrate diet, I will remember how fortunate I am.