Sometimes in life, we take certain things for granted. Just imagine what life would be like without having the sense of sight. There are over 900 blind and visually impaired individuals in Cumberland County, which is why the Vision Resource Center presents its Out of Sight Blindfolded Dining Event Saturday, Nov. 18, from 5-10 p.m. at the Hellenic Center.
“The purpose of the Out of Sight Dining Event is to give people the opportunity to get an idea in that space to see what it is like to be blind and visually impaired and how they would feel in that position,” Terri Thomas, executive director of The Vision Resource Center, said. “This is why we need funding for the things that we do with the blind.”
What does it feel like to be blind? Thomas asked this question to blind and visually impaired individuals she did an exercise with. Their answers: scared, vulnerable, not trusting and isolated.
“When I participate in activities and I am blindfolded, I am scared – and it is not a good feeling,” Thomas said. “I can take my blindfold off at the end of the activity, but they don’t have a blindfold on, and this is their reality all day long.”
Proceeds from the event will be used for training and skills development for blind and visuallyimpaired individuals.
“The funding from the event will be used for adaptation/socialization skills and to support the transportation that is needed to transport these individuals,” Thomas said. “They want to do more things that they really like, and they want to be able to socialize with each other.”
Thomas added that blind and visually-impaired individuals want to get out and socialize just like everyone else. They want to enjoy life and have fun.
Transportation has also been an issue this year at The Vision Resource Center. “The air conditioner is not working in our bus,” Thomas said. “We have to be able to transport our people and cannot afford a new one.”
Adaptive technology is also needed for these individuals. This includes iPhones and technology to help them as they navigate around their homes to perform daily tasks and chores.
“It is so disheartening to want to get these items but we just don’t have the money for them,” Thomas said. “I struggle every year, and it is by the grace of God that we make it every year.”
Ticket cost is $75 for individuals, $125 for couples and $600 for a reserved table of eight.
The Hellenic Center is located at 614 Oakridge Ave. For more information, call (910) 483-2719.
PHOTO: The Vision Resource Center’s Out of Sight Dining Event raises funds for blind and visually-impaired community members.