Donation center hosts poverty simulation

A Wider Circle uses poverty simulation for the very first time

SILVER SPRING, Md. - A group in Montgomery County has found a way to take the tragic realities of poverty and expose them to people all across their community.

What began as a game soon turned into a desperate fight for survival for the 100 plus people who came to A Wider Circle for a community action poverty simulation.

According to A Wider Circle founder Mark Bergel, the simulation comes at a time when the twin issues of poverty and homelessness are being put on the political back burner.

"That gives me great concern because I think the number of people living in poverty everyday is an embarrassment,” said Bergel. “It is a personal embarrassment for me, it is a national embarrassment."

A Wider Circle is using the simulation for the very first time since buying it as a package from the Missouri Community Action Network.

"They sell it to groups that are interested in doing this and then you spend time studying it and so my staff have spent a great deal of time preparing for today,” said Bergel.

Those preparations include setting up fake families and real life obstacles including jail and juvenile hall.

The simulation takes place over the course of an entire work month with families struggling to maintain their stability and what little money they're given to work with.

Many real life families came to the simulation with the expressed purpose of showing their young children the harsh realities of life with limited resources.

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