March Madness usually refers to the excitement and insanity of college basketball tournaments, and the people who are fervently devoted to keeping up with it all. All that was settled last night with North Carolina reclaiming the national championship in a commanding win over Michigan State.
But there’s another March Madness I just learned about, done by some folks fervently devoted to a whole different value system. A friend came to me Sunday and handed me some money which he wanted to go to help feed the hungry. He didn’t win his family’s March Challenge, but he had $179 to contribute.
The Challenge? Feed yourself for the month of March on $10 a day. At the beginning of the month, each family member got $310. Everything you ate for the month had to come from that: meals, snacks, drinks, whatever. Family members could “pool” their resources for shared meals, but each person had to keep up with their own money. Anything left over was to go to a mission of their own choosing, and the one with the largest gift won.
Here are the figures for a family of four, assuming the $179 was the average: $524 given to charity and $716 spent on food – an average food cost of $5.80 a day per person. What kind of madness it this?
By the way, the 2009 domestic meal per diem rate, set by the US General Services Administration ranges from $36 to $61 a day, depending on which section of the country you’re in.
What a great “Lenten” focus, a family challenge that makes each person conscious of what it actually takes to eat and what can be done when we “plan” to give. But I don’t recommend you try it, not unless you’re crazy enough to believe in a whole different value system that claims:
Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.. (Matthew 6).