Taking the poverty challenge

Hunter Biden is joining actors Ben Affleck, Sophia Bush, Josh Groban and Debi Mazar in limiting themselves to $1.50 a day for food.

It’s part of the Live Below the Line project, which raises awareness about extreme poverty.

For Biden, the second son of Vice President Biden, it means no coffee.

“Forget the coffee,” he told The Hill. “If you think about it, how do you do coffee?”

“Rice, beans and water seems to be the only way,” he said.

Live Below the Line is an initiative of the Global Poverty Project that asks people to live on $1.50, about the cost of a can of soda, for at least one day between April 29 and May 3.

Biden is going to try to make it all five days, which would give him a total of $7.50 to spend on food for that time period.

“I am nervous,” he admitted. “The truth of the matter is, if you think about it, $1.50 as individual — you really have to plan. You have to really figure out how to do that.”

He’s trying to get his three daughters — ages 19, 14 and 12 — to join him for a least a day.

“They have to go to school. They have a more rigorous day than I do because they go to school and play sports,” he said.

It is his first time taking part in the project. He serves as the chairman of World Food Program USA, which led to his participation in Live Below the Line.

“It’s a cause I just feel very firmly about,” he said.

Biden will be tweeting about his experiences at 


The project aims not just to raise awareness of extreme poverty but to fundraise for partner organizations like the World Food Program USA, Happy Hearts Fund and the Eastern Congo Initiative. The group estimates that 1.4 billion people in the world live in extreme poverty.

Donations can be made at 


For others thinking of participating, the website offers tips, including doing the challenge in teams. It also warns participants that they cannot accept donated food from family or friends.

The idea was sparked in 2009 when Rich Fleming from the Global Poverty Project and Nick Allardice from the Oaktree Foundation in Australia were living together in a shared house and got to talking about poverty.

Fleming decided to live at the poverty level for three weeks and blogged about his experiences. He got a huge public reaction, and the Live Below the Line project was born.

Several celebrities have taken part in the campaign.

Groban was so moved by his experiences last year that he wrote a song, “Below the Line.”

“Taking on this challenge last year was such a humbling experience for me,” he said in a statement. “It’s amazing how much we take for granted not having to live in hunger, and I am honored to have been asked to help spread the word about this eye-opening campaign again this year.”

In 2012, more than 15,000 people participated and over 

$3 million was raised, according to Global Poverty Project’s Michael Trainer.

Past participants include actors Hugh Jackman, Minka Kelly, Malin Akerman, Nick Lachey and Kevin Connolly.