Helping to End Poverty, One Person at a Time

Mark Bergel A wider Circle Professional Development

“What does the world need me to do?”

When Mark Bergel, 51, asked himself that question, his answer was to start A Wider Circle, a nonprofit in Silver Spring, Md., that provides everything from furniture to job training and clothing to support those in need. Now, 13 years later, Bergel, who serves as the organization’s executive director, is on a mission: End poverty in America.

As I sort and fold donated baby clothes in the organization’s huge warehouse, Bergel, a 2014 CNN Hero, shares his message of ending poverty by connecting with one another.

“As one of us goes, so go all of us,” says the former American University sociology professor. “If a child lays his head on a dirty, cold floor tonight, that’s my kid. And a part of me doesn’t feel whole when somebody is suffering like that and I can do something about it.” 

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