By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Halloween is a day for taking on a different identity and that’s what some city council members and staff did at City Hall. The meeting was for insight into the lives of their most vulnerable constituents.

“I will be a 17-year-old boy, who has a single parent mother,” said Philadelphia City Councilman Curtis Jones.

Jones was one of Tuesday’s organizers of the “poverty simulation.”

“We are here to experience what we don’t have to experience, but many of our constituents live every single day,” he said.

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Armed with scenarios about income, expenses and circumstance, participants were given tasks to accomplish through mock banks, stores, food cupboards and government offices set up around the room.

The exercise was interrupted briefly by Black Lives Matter protesters.

“We don’t need simulations,” protesters said. “We can take you to those places where people are in poverty.”

The moderator incorporated the interruption into the lesson, as an example of the anger that can arise from frustration, and elicited the hoped-for empathy.

“I don’t approve of what they’re doing, but I understand it,” the moderator said.