Second Harvest Food Bank brings poverty simulation to Ball State

MUNCIE, Ind.(NewsLink) - Ball State students filled the Student Center Ball Room to learn about food insecurity. A poverty simulation event was put on by Second Harvest Food Bank to see if students could survive living in poverty for a month. 

The simulation event also brought awareness to Delaware County’s alarming poverty statistics. At this time, 21% of residents in Delaware County live below the poverty line. That's higher than our national average of 13%.

As students arrived at the event, they were given a new identity and separated into groups. The groups became their family, who they would make financial decisions with. 

Stations, such as a bank, jail, grocery store and a school, were set-up throughout the room to create a real-life concept.  

“What someone would understand when they come through this is it actually helps build empathy,” said Dorica Watson, the community engagement manager for Second Harvest Food Bank. “Someone would understand what happens when your resources are low, but the stress level is high”.

The simulation is a two-and-a-half hour role-play opportunity. Participants spend one month in poverty, which is four 15-minute weeks. 

“We believe, just like Ball State, that we are better together. But we are better together when we are willing to do life together,” said Watson. “So this opportunity today allows students who may otherwise never encounter poverty to see what it’s like to have that heightened sense of awareness constantly.”

Second Harvest Food Bank is scheduled to have a total of 12 poverty simulation events this year, one of which will be held at Ball State next month. The Ball State College of Health is partnering with Second Harvest for the event. Watson believes there will be room for up to 80 people to participate.

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