United Way Challenges Community to Recognize Poverty Around Us

People in the metro are getting an inside look into the struggles of poverty

FARGO, ND — Nearly half of the world’s population lives on less than $2.50 a day and more than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty.

The United Way is simulating an experience for people to understand the different ways poverty affects those around us.

People in the metro are getting an inside look into the struggles of poverty.

“You don’t actually get the full picture of all of the challenges that different families in our community are facing,” said United Way Cass Clay President, Kristi Huber.

Jess is one of 70 people participating in a United Way simulation.

Her new identity is Kaylee Quant, a 20-year-old single parent who is facing mounting bills and another caregiver role.

People are learning about the consequences of not being able to pay your bills.

Some are getting evicted from their home, while others are getting sent to jail.

“We realized at the third week that we had not paid our mortgage or our utilities and we were at risk of losing our house,” Engel Tvedten said.

Making these decisions is not easy, even in a simulation.

“Things from making a bad decision and ending up in jail because you were trying to do something for your family to then someone having to spend money to get you out of jail,” Engel Tvedten said.

Getting into trouble is a common occurrence when you are willing to do anything for a roof over your head and food on the table.

“Whether it was a family that was homeless or a family that had a house and a spouse left, or whatever the case may be, there were all of these circumstances that varied and made their own personal circumstance hard and difficult,” Engel Tvedten said.

The simulation teaches the group that being an active part of the community may save a family from disaster.

The Quant family said they were saved by their neighbors.

“They were just people that happened to watch us struggle while we were going through this and when I think about what we can all do as members of our community is just find a way to give,” Engel Tvedten said.

“So many people that walk away saying, ‘what can I do? I want to do more to help our community because I’ve had this experience,'” Huber said.

The United Way hosts simulations like these multiple times a year.

The next one will be on September 26th.

Categories: Business, Community, Local News, News Landing Page, North Dakota News