Community awareness

Dozens of local men and women in the business community participated in a poverty simulation on Friday at Holy Redeemer Center.

Participants in the event assumed the roles of families facing poverty. Some of the families are newly unemployed, some were recently deserted by the “breadwinner” of the family, and some were homeless. Others were senior citizens receiving disability or retirement or grandparents raising their grandchildren.

The goal of the families during the simulation was to provide basic necessities and shelter during the course of four 15-minute “weeks.”

The simulation was conducted with the families seated in the center of the gymnasium. Around the perimeter of the gym were tables representing community services and resources for the families. The services included a bank, a super center, a Community Action Agency, an employer, a utility company, a pawn broker, a grocery store, a social service agency, a faith-based agency, a payday and title loan facility, a mortgage company, a school, and a daycare center.

Families were then tasked with spending the small amount of fake money they had to provide for themselves and their family.

The program was put on by the Impacting Poverty Group. Bob Raible, one of the Program Coordinators for the group, said the event was a success.

“It definitely went well,” Raible said. “The idea was to get as many people from the community here as we could, and to get them doing different things.”

Statistics provided by the Impacting Poverty Group show that 14.1 percent of people in Warren County and 24.1 percent of children in the county live in poverty every day. Many more have incomes above the poverty line, but their incomes are still low enough to qualify for programs such as Food Stamps and Medicaid. The recent economic downturn as seen unemployment rates rise and the use of emergency food pantries increase.

Raible says the Impacting Poverty Group would like to put on another simulation in the future.

“This is the first simulation we’ve done with this group,” he said. “Doing another one in the future is definitely something that will be discussed.”