Surviving One Month of Poverty in New Milford: Could You Do It?
Imagine not having enough food to eat or not being able to afford a place to live. Unless you've been there, no one knows what it's like to live in poverty, which, in most cases, includes unending trips to social services and not being able to make ends meet while trying not to fall apart in front of your kids. The News-Times reported that last Friday, New Milford Social Services conducted a "poverty simulation" at The Maxx titled; "A Walk in Their Shoes: How to Survive One Month of Poverty."
Individuals who took part in the "poverty simulation," were divided into groups of five with at least one parent and children. Each group worked off a script that dictated their circumstances like income, possessions, and expenses. As tools, they were given Social Security cards and bus passes for everything but school.Tables were set up around the room that signified a bank, public school, child care center, supermarket, etc. A whistle was blown every 15 minutes which meant the week was over. Frustration, anger, and desperation set in as parents lost jobs, some of the kids were jailed, and some of the agencies were closed before a family member could walk through the door. The Rev. Jack Gilpin from St. John's Episcopal Church told the News-Times, "My eyes were wide opened on Friday to the reality of day-to-day life for a low income family." New Milford Mayor Pat Murphy along with 60 others who attended echoed the same sentiments.
This is a serious problem across the country and it makes me angry when I hear people say, "Those losers are trying to buck the system. They're just looking for a handout!" Sure, a small percentage do try to take advantage of the system, but most people have either lost their job, or they're down on their luck. The mentally ill, people with addiction issues, individuals with anxiety disorders aren't even able to seek the help they need. If you need "Social Services" help in the community where you live, start with CT's Department of Social Services.