Mean Bean FAQs

Errm, what exactly is the Mean Bean Challenge?

Great question. For five days, eat a simple diet of porridge, plain rice and beans (the kind of food that millions of people live on every day) and raise money to help people beat hunger and poverty.

We won’t stop until poverty stops. We have a vision to end extreme poverty within our lifetimes, but we can only do this with your help.

What are your recommended minimum daily quantities for the challenge?

100g porridge, made with water, for breakfast
50g rice with 100g beans (roughly half a tin of beans, drained) for lunch
50g rice with 100g beans for dinner

This amounts to approximately 990 calories per day.

NB: All weights given are for dry, uncooked or drained quantities.

What if I feel unwell when taking part in the challenge?

It is normal to experience some physical side effects when reducing your calorie intake. Expect to feel tired and hungry. You may also experience caffeine and sugar withdrawal symptoms such as headaches. However, if at any point you become ill, stop participating.

Consult a doctor if you continue to feel unwell or if you have existing medical conditions which may be affected. To help you, we’ve put together a Nutrition Guide that’s full of useful information.

Please remember that, while Tearfund is grateful for your support, you are responsible for your own health and welfare during the Mean Bean Challenge. You should seek medical advice prior to taking part where appropriate; for example, if you are elderly, have a medical condition, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

There are loads of other ways you can fundraise if the Mean Bean Challenge isn't right for you.

I want to set up a team to do the challenge, can I do that?

Yes! The more the merrier. We'd love you to involve your friends, family or congregation. There's strength in numbers and the challenge is more fun when you team up with others. Just follow the instructions on how to set up team pages on JustGiving.

Or, if you’ve already set up an individual account:

Step 1 - Log in to your JustGiving account
Step 2 - Select the Your pages tab
Step 3 - Click Start a new team
Step 4 - Enter the details of your team page
Step 5 - Click Make a team page

How do I pay in my money?

If you’re fundraising through JustGiving then you don’t have to do a thing – JustGiving will send us the money automatically.

If you’re fundraising through other means, you can pay in the money you raise online.

To give via bank transfer, please credit Tearfund, Account no 53803058, Sort Code 20-00-00. Once you’ve paid in your donation, please email to let us know the amount. Title your email ’Mean Bean’ and include your Tearfund supporter number.

If you’ve collected cash, please bank it and send us a cheque, made payable to ‘Tearfund’, to:

Tearfund, 100 Church Road, Teddington, TW11 8QE
or, for Northern Ireland: Tearfund, 241 Newtownards Road, Belfast, BT4 1AF
and, for Scotland: Tearfund, Suite 529-534 Baltic Chambers, 50 Wellington Street, Glasgow G2 6HJ.

Please also send your completed sponsorship form or a covering letter with your cheque and make sure you tell us the money has been raised through your Mean Bean Challenge.

Can I get sponsors offline?

Yes! Please use the sponsor form in our resources section. Make sure each person fills in their name, address and postcode so we can claim Gift Aid on any donations – otherwise we can’t claim.

What can I actually eat?

Plain porridge (made with water) for breakfast, plain rice and plain beans for lunch, and the same for dinner. No sauce, no baked beans. You do have the chance to earn yourself little rewards to keep you going – a splash of milk on your porridge or a pinch of your favourite herb on your beans. You’ll be surprised what a difference these little touches can make. Check out our Rewards and how to earn them here.

Make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. A week or two before you start the challenge we suggest you also reduce your caffeine and sugar intake – just to ease yourself in.

We’ve put together a handy Nutrition Guide to answer any further questions you may have.

What can I drink? Is tea and coffee allowed if it’s decaf?

Just water, I’m afraid! We have a full list of everything that’s allowed in our Nutrition Guide.

Are flavourings/seasonings allowed?

The idea behind the challenge is to make the food as plain as possible. However, a small amount of salt will help ensure that you’re getting more of the nutrients you need. And there’s always the chance to earn a sprinkling of seasoning if you reach your fundraising targets! Check out our Nutrition Guide for more info.

What exactly is this Rewards scheme you keep talking about?

New for this year, it’s a sprinkle of spice in an otherwise mundanely bean-filled day… and an incentive to help you raise as much as you possibly can to end hunger and transform lives. Each time you reach a particular target, like gaining another five sponsors, or raising £500, you get to reward yourself with a treat such as your favourite vegetable or a cup of tea or coffee (it’ll be the best brew you’ve ever had!). Discover all the targets and rewards here.

I’m trying to set up a JustGiving page on the Mean Bean sign up form but it tells me I already have an account.

If you’ve fundraised through JustGiving before then you’ll need to select ‘I have an account’ on the Mean Bean sign up form. You’ll be able to use your existing account to take part in the Mean Bean Challenge. If you’ve forgotten your password, simply click ‘Forgotten password’ and JustGiving will send you a reminder via email.

Do you know if I enter my offline donations on the JustGiving page whether they will take their commission on those donations?

No, they won’t take commission on these donations. All JustGiving charge is a small processing fee on payments and Gift Aid. For every £30 donated with Gift Aid, Tearfund will receive £36.36 from JustGiving. More info on how to give offline donations through JustGiving can be found here.

Can I eat lentils or is it just beans?

Just beans. But reach our targets and you can earn something more! Feast your eyes on the Rewards up for grabs. We also have a full list of everything that’s allowed in our Nutrition Guide.

Is there a minimum fundraising amount?

No. Although on average our Mean Beaners raise around £300, so we recommend a target of at least £288 per person. This could help four people like Ruth learn techniques to feed their families. However, feel free to set your own targets. The more money you raise, the more families you’ll help.

What does the money raised go towards?

The money will go towards our worldwide work to beat poverty and hunger. We work through the local church to empower communities to lift themselves out of poverty, helping people like Ruth and her family. You can read her story here.

Who can I contact if I have more questions?

If we haven’t managed to answer all your questions (we’ve done our best, promise), then feel free to contact us at or by calling 020 3906 3390.

Eat Beans. Help end hunger.

Mean Bean Challenge

Eat Beans. Help end hunger.