About 100 community leaders took part in a realistic "poverty simulation" at Mohawk Valley Community College on Friday.

The event is part of Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente and Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi's Mohawk Valley Anti-Poverty Initiative.

Brindisi says participants were given an hour to experience a typical month in the lives of people living in poverty.

"It is important for participants in the Anti-Poverty group to really understand what it's like for somebody in need to have to make important choices in their life with limited income.  I certainly learned a lot today, as I participated in a very realistic simulation that included long lines at social service agencies, where the choices I had to make were often very difficult.  Having to pay for housing, look for work and take care of a family all at the same time is not easy." Brindisi said.

"Too often, we go about our daily lives unaware of the hurdles many people face every day.  The poverty simulation shows that many times, people are suddenly impoverished through no fault of their own because of unexpected illness or the loss of a job.  Participants in today's program probably will never look at these issues in the same way," Picente said.

Agencies taking part in today's simulation included the United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area, the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties and Mohawk Valley Community Action.