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As wealth gap grows, charities left to fill void

Income inequality has swelled to epic proportions, with even Pope Francis imploring Davos dignitaries to address the issue.

Indeed, the World Economic Forum has placed addressing the surging gap between rich and poor as its top priority for 2014.

Experts involved with the discussions face a quandary: Judging by financial markets the U.S. and global economy are both back to precrisis levels. But judging by global unemployment trends and the demand for social programs, more work clearly needs to be done.

However, there's only so much talk can do.

At the grassroots level there are charities, including the United Way, which have to deal with growing poverty and economic dislocations on a daily basis.

Brian Gallagher, the organization's global CEO, offered up a few ideas with CNBC.com Finance Editor Jeff Cox.