A central Iowa agency that helps low-income families is taking part in a project again this year that pairs up some of its clients with county supervisors. Clarissa Thompson of Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA) is the coordinator of the “Walk a Mile” program. She says it brings together the policymakers with some of their low-income constituents to walk a mile in their shoes.
Thompson says the program lasts one month and they talk weekly and take part in activities to learn more about each other. She says that can be going to a meeting with a county supervisor, and the leaders can go to a health program or go shopping with the families.
Thompson says there’s a specific program to let the elected leaders see how the families cope. She says the county supervisors are participating in a food assistance simulation that gives them a budget equivalent to a federal food assistance program. Thompson says they then get a chance to talk about the experience.
Thompson says it’s a good way for both sides to learn more about each other. She says both have an important role in the community and this program lets them learn more about their roles. The program pairs low-income individuals with supervisors in Hardin, Marshall, Poweshiek and Story counties.