Poverty simulation offers a view from other side of the desk


Quad Citians are invited to stand in the shoes of those who are struggling to survive financially by participating in an in-person, living-in-poverty simulation and workshop.

The Moline Foundation, Moline Public Library, University of Illinois Extension, St. Paul Lutheran Church, EveryChild, and River Bend Food Bank are partnering for the simulation and workshop on SocioEconomic Differences. The event will be from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 18, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Davenport.

Why participate? “You can learn a lot when you are on the other side of the desk from the people who need help,” according to a news release announcing the event.

COVID-19 pushed more people toward poverty, although when describing themselves, most say they are middle class, but unfortunately, numbers tell a different story, organizers say. 

River Bend Food Bank already had an increased need of 50,000 more people in the Quad Cities, and now with the recession, the need has only continued to increase. If you work with clients that come from a different background or just want to understand the choices others make, these sessions will be of help, the Moline Foundation release said.

People who live in poverty make decisions based on their culture – what they value and what rules they live by. During the workshop, participants will learn to better understand their reality versus yours. If you didn’t grow up in poverty, you don’t understand it, the release said. No matter how well intended you might be, the values and hidden rules that people in poverty live can be baffling to the other groups.

The simulation illustrates the difficulties of trying to pay for everything each month when enough money isn’t coming in but it still must be going out to pay the bills. Participants will have the chance to make the difficult decisions facing people in poverty every day. If you have participated in the virtual event in the past, it is recommended you also attend the in-person event as they are different experiences.  

Registration is free, but space is limited. Sign up here.

Volunteers are needed to help set tables and chairs up, and to staff the booths for the free event. Contact Susan Zelnio at szelnio@molinefoundation.org to volunteer or to ask questions.

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