Americans don't understand real poverty. For those brave enough to want a better understanding, the movie "Living On One" is a pretty good primer which I highly recommend.
It's a documentary that follows four college students to Guatemala where they attempt to live on one dollar a day.
As pretentious as the premise might sound, it winds up telling a fine story about living dirt poor (for 60 days) and offers ideas that might help even if they are only partial solutions.
Catch it if you can. I think you will enjoy it. You can view it for free on Hulu.com for a limited time.
You can view the trailer here.