More than 700 million people live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $2.15 per day. That's $2.15 a day for all of life's expenses — food, transportation, housing, emergencies, etc. Many of us spend twice that amount on our morning cup of coffee.

It's hard to imagine having a satisfying meal for under $2, let alone having $2 to try and meet all of the needs that come up during a day. However, our $2 Dinner Challenge will help with this a little bit. It'll give you a small taste of what life is like for children and families surviving in extreme poverty.


Take $2 in cash from your purse or wallet, and put the rest of your money aside, including your checkbook and your credit or debit cards.

As a family, go to your local grocery store. Walk around the store and make a list of what food you can get for $2. Then use your $2 to buy food to feed everyone dinner; just one meal.

As you eat dinner together, discuss the questions below:

  • Before you went to the store, what was your initial impression of the challenge? Did you think it would be easy or hard to come up with a meal for $2?
  • What was the food shopping experience like? What did you think, or how did you feel, as you were looking for affordable items to buy?
  • Did you have any concerns about the meal you'd be having (e.g., nutritionally, amount, taste, etc.)?
  • How does the food you bought stack up nutritionally with a typical meal you share together? How do you think having this $2 meal every day would affect you physically and emotionally?
  • Has the $2 Dinner Challenge changed your perspective on what it might be like to live in extreme poverty?

After dinner, spend some time praying for the children families living in poverty around the world. And consider including this prayer as part of your prayer at subsequent meals.


In this Compassion Roundtable, Compassion alumni share with one another about the meals and snacks they had as children, at home and at the child development center.