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Peekskill To Host Poverty Simulation Event Thursday

Walk In My Shoes is an event that simulates what living in poverty is like.
Walk In My Shoes is an event that simulates what living in poverty is like. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Judy Callahan

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- An event in Peekskill on Thursday, June 5, will simulate how the other half lives.

The Peekskill Community Action Program, in association with the Westchester Community Opportunity Program and Putnam Community Action Program, will host Walk In My Shoes, a poverty simulation event from 8:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Kiley Youth Center in Peekskill.

U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey will be the keynote speaker, and Assemblywoman Sandy Galef will also address the audience.

The event is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, which began when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Equal Opportunity Act of 1964.

"We have done poverty simulation before, and we really think it's a phenomenal event," Judy Callahan, executive director of the Putnam Community Action Program, said. "We are hoping to bring awareness and spur people to action. We are hoping something concrete comes out of this. There is going to be a dialogue."

Callahan said this will help put a face on what poverty is like in the Hudson Valley.

"What can I as a citizen or small-business owner do to help?" Callahan said. "That's where we hope the discussion leads."

Callahan said families living in poverty often don't have cars, and in Northern Westchester, getting around via public transit is difficult.

"If you don't have a vehicle or can't afford to put gas in it, you can't go anywhere or look for a job or go to the grocery store," Callahan said. "I don't think people are starving, but they have food insecurity. They don't know if they are going to have enough to feed their family. It's not enough, and the quality is not nutritionally sound."

Callahan said people have needed help in paying utility bills due to the increase in oil prices.

"People can't heat their home," Callahan said. "It's very difficult. We want to help people stay in their home. We don't want them to be homeless. We want to engage the community in helping people.  Everybody will have a different interest or talent to bring to the table."

To participate in the event, contact Judy Callahan at 845-278-8021, ext. 17.

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