DENVER (CBS4) – Some people got a big eye opener this weekend when they spent the day in poverty. It was all part of a poverty simulation that was held in Denver.

The people all had one thing in common — they’re all considered middle class or higher. But they put that all aside on Saturday.

“Families from the middle and upper class get the opportunity to simulate what it’s like to live a life in poverty,” said Darius Wise with Upstream Impact, the nonprofit that held the event.

Wise brought them all together and gave them new names and situations where they had to make ends meet with limited resources. The hope was to get them to understand what it means to live at the poverty level. It was quite an eye opener for some.

“This has been frustrating and demoralizing and I can’t imagine people going through this every day,” participant Carol Nichols said. “My heart really goes out to people, especially ones that are trying so hard.”

In the poverty simulation families had to deal with things like getting evicted, finding food for their family, finding child care, and in some cases getting robbed.

“All of my belongings were stolen from my house; everything,” Nichols said.

She said it made her feel very violated and frustrated because the police couldn’t help her.

“The truth of that matter is that happens in our community on a day to day basis,” Wise said.

The participants struggled to make ends meet with the limited resources they were given for the simulation. In the end Wise hopes their compassion will help bridge the gap between the lower and middle class.

“Hopefully they are. There’s been a light shed on the whole idea of what families deal with and they’re more empathetic, and more importantly they’re called to action,” Wise said.

Upstream Impact provides assistance for people living in poverty.

LINK: Upstream Impact


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