IMPACT
05/24/2016 05:50 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2016

Hidden Camera Reveals How Little People Really Know About Poverty

“You can’t always tell who’s living in poverty or who needs help making ends meet.”

One project aims to change people's perception of poverty by bringing some of its lesser-known realities to light. 

The Salvation Army in Canada staged an “open house” in May, according to a blog on its site. Much like in a standard open house, people were invited to walk around a home -- but as they stepped from room to room, these visitors were faced with alarming statistics about the scale of poverty in Canada.

“One in seven children go to school hungry,” reads a cereal box in the video below. “One in five Canadians skip a meal to make ends meet,” reads a carton.

As a hidden camera filmed people’s reactions in the open house, the most common reaction was one of utter surprise at the scale of the issue:

“Ninety thousand Canadians will use a food bank for the first time this month,” reads a woman. “This month?” asks a voice behind her. “This month,” she says.

The goal was to upend people’s stereotypes about what poverty looks like.

“You can’t always tell who’s living in poverty or who needs help making ends meet,” the blog read. “More often than not, poverty is closer than you think.”

In Canada, almost 5 million people -- or one in seven Canadians -- live in poverty. 

In the U.S., the problem is just as pervasive: Almost 50 million people live in food-insecure households — that's around one in six. More startling perhaps, is that one in five New Yorkers who line up to receive free food at pantries has a job.

The Salvation Army

The video ends with a call for donations, to help the Salvation Army’s efforts to tackle poverty.

“Poverty isn’t always easy to see. Help us feed, clothe and empower those in need,” it says.

You can donate here to the Salvation Army in Canada, or here in the U.S.

The Salvation Army

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