United Way’s interactive poverty simulation giving participants real life experiences

Unless you've lived in poverty, it's hard to understand exactly what that life is like. 

Living from paycheck to paycheck trying to make ends meet. 

Usually in those situations, people must rely on community organizations to help them get by. 

To help demonstrate that, the United Way of the Eastern Shore ran an interactive poverty simulation at Salisbury University. This giving people a first hand experience of what it's like to need help just to get by.

Participants assumed the role of family members and each family had a packet of information that described their budget.

The simulation throwing challenges their way, just like life does. 

United Way's Tracey Ritter says, "Their challenges is to make ends meet for a month. So it's 15 minute weeks and at the end of the month they need to pay their rent they need to buy food they need to take children to school all the normal things you do in a months time."

Because money is so tight, folks in the simulation realized they need help of community service agencies like job centers to get by. 

United Way had community agencies wrapped aound the room to provide that help. 

One of those agencies there, Habitat for Humanity.

"It will give them perspective of how 40% of the households here are really living. Where they have to make tough choices to buy food or buy their electrical bill that month," Habitat's Executive Director Molly Hilligoss states. 

United Way showcased this workshop for the very first time today but they hope this interactive experience can make a lasting impact. 

"This is another way for us to help our community understand that the partnering agencies we work with these are the people they are serving. They are working with our community who are vulnerable and who are marginalized to get them to a more sustainable and stable life," Ritter tells 47 ABC. 

Categories: Local News, Maryland