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MOUNT VERNON -- Poverty and hunger often lead to increased emotional and financial stress, increased risk of illness, poor school performance in children, and poor productivity on the job.

This cycle of struggle can seem unbearable, according to experts.

Throughout the year, United Way of Knox County brings together diverse groups of community members for a unique, interactive experience focused on what life is like with a shortage of money and an abundance of stress.

"Poverty Simulation" assists participants in understanding the harsh realities of poverty. This free, community event will be Oct. 17 at the Apostolic Christian Church, 1635 Old Delaware Road.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. with the simulation running 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Poverty Simulation can mean different things to different participants. For resource providers, it can help them to better identify with the needs of families and individuals they serve each day.

For community leaders, elected officials, and agency directors it can help them to create and implement policies and programs that address the issue of poverty more effectively.

For anyone, it can inspire a commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of Knox County residents and employees of local businesses.

Participants assume the roles of family members in multiple families facing challenging but typical circumstances. Some are newly unemployed, some are homeless, and others are suddenly faced with the responsibility of raising grandchildren.

The task of the “families” is to provide for necessities and shelter during four 15-minute simulated weeks. Volunteers staff resource tables and guide the experience.

To register for Poverty Simulation, call 740-397-5721 or email liveunited@uwayknox.org. There is no cost to attend but registration before Oct. 14 is necessary due to limited seating.

Poverty Simulation is a part of United Way’s Financial Stability Initiative.

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