Life in the State of Poverty

Community Action Advisory Board July Food Drive

Amidst the wealth of Fairfax County:

Over 65,000 individuals live below poverty.

Over 85,000 residents receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits in 2014.

Over 28 percent of the students enrolled in Fairfax County Public Schools received free- or reduced-cost lunches.

Students who eat free and reduced price meals at school during the school year rely on food banks in the summer to fill the gap; however, food bank shelves run low during the summer months. This is why the CAAB needs your help to collect non-perishable food for our neighbors in need.

Donations will be accepted through the month of July. Look for donation boxes at:
- any United Bank location in Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax 
- most Fairfax County Board of Supervisors' offices ( pdf icon  list of locations
- Pennino Building – Human Services Center 12011 Government Center Parkway, 5th floor, Fairfax, VA 22035
- Providence Community Center, 3001 Vaden Drive Fairfax, VA 22031
- Food for Others (address listed below)

All donations will be delivered to Food for Others in August.

The most needed items are: canned meats, peanut butter, stew and chili (canned), canned pasta, cereal, canned fruit, macaroni and cheese, beans (dried or canned), pasta, pasta sauce, rice and fruit juice.

Monetary donations are also welcome. To donate funds by check or money order, please make your donation payable to Food for Others and mail to:
Food for Others
2938 Prosperity Avenue
Fairfax , VA 22031

caab food drive

Download the  flyer for more information.

Learn more about CAAB or call 703-324-5848, TTY 711.



   What is it like to live in poverty in Fairfax County?
Many dollar bills

The Fairfax County Community Action Advisory Board (CAAB) sponsors the “Life in the State of Poverty” simulation several times a year for a variety of community and government groups. This simulation experience is a community education program designed to help participants begin to understand what it might be like to be a part of a typical low-income family. The objective is to increase the community's awareness of the realities of life faced by low-income people and to review community resources that are available to them and all families.

If you would like to co-sponsor a simulation for your group or organization, please call 703-324-7869 or send an e-mail to

"Life in the State of Poverty" Simulation

The Simulation Experience

The Poverty Simulation is designed to help participants begin to understand what it might be like to live in a typical low-income family trying to survive from month to month. It is a simulation, not a game. The object is to sensitize participants to the realities faced by low-income people.

In the simulation, 30 to 75 participants assume the roles of up to 26 different families facing poverty. Some are newly unemployed. Some are recently deserted by the "breadwinner," and others are recipients of TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, formerly AFDC), either with or without additional earned income. Still others are disabled or are senior citizens receiving Social Security. The task of the "families" is to provide for basic necessities and shelter during the course of four 15-minute "weeks."

The simulation is conducted in a large room with the "families" seated in-groups in the center. Around the perimeter are tables representing community resources and services for the families. These services include a bank, community action agency, local employer, social services office, pawnbroker, grocery and where possible a school.

Volunteers, preferably persons who have faced or are facing poverty, are recruited to staff the resource tables. Volunteers are also recruited to assume the roles of police officer, utility collector, and landlord/rent collector.

The experience lasts from two to three hours. It includes an introduction and briefing, the actual simulation exercise, and a debriefing period in which participants and volunteer staffers share their feelings and experiences.

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