Bridging the Opportunity Divide

The Impoverished Often Choose Between Buying Furniture and Food. This Group Makes Sure They Have Both

March 14, 2016
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The Impoverished Often Choose Between Buying Furniture and Food. This Group Makes Sure They Have Both
Thomas Shomaker, Sean Ryon
A Wider Circle provides free home goods to the poor living in our nation's capital.

Dr. Mark Bergel hasn’t slept in a bed since 2008. But thanks to his efforts, many of his neighbors have.

While volunteering at a Washington, D.C. nonprofit that delivered meals to impoverished residents, Bergel noticed that many families lacked enough beds for all of a household’s residents — or they didn’t have any beds at all. Learning that many of those living in poverty forgo basic furnishings in order to put food on the table, he started A Wider Circle.

The organization’s largest initiative, Neighbor-to-Neighbor, accepts donated furniture and distributes it to low-income residents across the Washington, D.C., area. A Wider Circle also operates the new Wraparound Support program, which enlists up to four volunteers to focus on one individual or family as they seek to rise out of poverty.

Watch the video above to see why Bergel sleeps on his couch and how A Wider Circle is making life better for almost 16,000 adults and children each year.

MORE: As Extreme Poverty Increases Nationwide, This Texas County Finds the Secret to Drastically Reduce It

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