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What is it like living in poverty? - KOAM TV 7

What is it like living in poverty?

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Joplin, MO -

Some local elected officials, school district workers, and other people throughout Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas get a simulated experience with poverty.

About 80 people were given play money for this experience.  But they had to go through the stressful task of budgeting and interacting with grocers, pawnbrokers, bill collectors, school, child care, healthcare, employers, and law enforcement.

According to the 2014 U.S. Census, close to 22,000 Jasper County residents are living at or below the federal poverty level.

"We assume that people are in situations because of their own choices," says City of Joplin worker Stephen Grindle.  "And I think what this shows us is that poverty happens to a variety of people, and that for various reasons, people end up in poverty."

The event was sponsored by the Economic Security Corporation of Southwest Missouri, partnering with Circles Joplin and the United Way.

One other participant of today's event hopes it sparks interest in helping those less fortunate.

"I might be a technology guy, and so maybe I need to help somebody with spreadsheets, social media, website design.  So we try to make sure that everybody has something that they can do, that they're passionate about," says Debbie Markman with the Economic Security Corporation.

"Making ends meet on a daily basis.  It is stressful.  I think I'm taking away that life in general is stressful, but then when you can't make ends meet as well, it becomes even more stressful," says Grindle.

According to the 2014 U.S. Census, close to 25 percent of children in Jasper County are living in poverty.

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