Our Service


  • You had to decide between paying your mortgage and feeding your children?
  • You lost your job and had no savings to pay your bills?
  • You needed assistance to pay your rent?
  • You lost your car and had no transportation to get to your employer?

Did you know that 18.51% of our neighbors live in poverty right here in OACAC’s 10-county service area in Southwest Missouri?

That’s well above the poverty rates for Missouri (15.48%) and the United States as a whole (15.5%), according to the U.S. Census Bureau (2014).

The impacts of poverty are serious for those affected:

Poor health

Unstable housing


Missed educational opportunities

Stress on families

What Is the Poverty Simulation?

OACAC’s Poverty Simulation consists of four 15-minute sessions, each representing a week, in which participants grapple with real-life situations faced by individuals living in poverty.

The Simulation forces participants to assume the role of a low-income family and confront the realities of living on a severely restricted income.

The purpose of the Poverty Simulation is three-fold:

  • Promote poverty awareness
  • Increase understanding of the challenges faced by individuals living in poverty
  • Inspire local change to overcome the effects of poverty


How to Volunteer for a Poverty Simulation

Are you interested in making a difference? Do you enjoy interacting with people? If so, OACAC has a volunteer opportunity for you!

We need volunteers to assist with upcoming Poverty Simulations. This opportunity is fun, enjoyable, and makes a positive impact on our community.

Training is provided and a stipend is available for income-eligible volunteers.


Schedule a Poverty Simulation

Would you like to schedule a Poverty Simulation for your organization or business? Do you have questions about volunteering or need more information?

Please contact Carl Thomas at (417) 873-3376, or email [email protected]


Upcoming Poverty Simulations

Due to the safety and well-being of our community, all Poverty Simulations from 3/13 - 5/1 are canceled or will be rescheduled. We will reevaluate where we stand for simulations May 2 and beyond. Thank you for understanding.
October 169:00am - 11:30amOTC Lincoln Hall
Corner of Sherman and Brower on OTC campus
October 161:00pm - 3:30pmOTC Lincoln Hall
Corner of Sherman and Brower on OTC campus


Help us build awareness and understanding of how poverty impacts our neighbors!


Your gift means more people get to participate in this valuable experience!