Live Below the Line raises $14,000 for VSA

Published on 11th October 2011

VSA staff and supporters raised $14,000 to support VSA’s education work in the Pacific during the inaugural Live Below the Line campaign held in August.


VSA is one of six charities that took part in Live Below the Line, a new fundraising initiative to help raise awareness about the challenges of living below the poverty line. Participants have to feed themselves on just $2.25 a day for five days.


VSA’s supporters included recently selected UniVol Madeleine Diver, who raised an amazing $2,115.00 for VSA, making her one of the top three individual fundraisers.


Madeleine, who is studying development studies and international relations at Victoria University, first became involved with VSA when she helped run Project Friendship at Napier Girls High School in 2008. She spent last summer working as a volunteer teacher in Indonesia.


Madeleine with one of her food creations

“That was an amazing experience. Doing Live Below the Line to raise money for VSA was a no-brainer for me – I wanted to help others do volunteer work, just like I have.”


The participants lived on oats, rice and pulses, supplemented by small quantities of vegetables, the occasional banana and – for the coffee addicts – several tablespoons of the cheapest coffee they could find.


VSA recruitment coordinator Carolyn Mark’s chickpea and potato curry got the thumbs up for tastiness. Graphic designer Alana McCrossin’s soda bread was quite a hit too.


But the prize for the most ingenious use of funds goes to VSA communications coordinator Lesley Smeardon, who had $45 to feed her family of four. She even managed to make a batch of oat and raisin biscuits, using margarine, two eggs she bought from a neighbour who keeps chickens, and raisins she found on special at the supermarket. 


“I had to have something to put in my children’s lunchboxes – otherwise they would have mutinied.”


VSA will be taking part in Live Below the Line in 2012, and we plan to make it even more successful than this year.






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