October is Blindness Awareness Month. In Cumberland County there are more than 600 blind and visually impaired adults and children, so that is why the Vision Resource Center presents its fifth annual Out of Sight Dining event on Friday, November 11, from 6 – 10 p.m. at the Hellenic Center.
“The purpose of the event is to raise awareness of what it is like to be visually impaired in our community and for people to get why the Vision Resource Center is here,” said Terri Thomas, executive director of the Vision Resource Center. “Unless you walk a mile in a visually impaired person’s shoes, you don’t get it until you actually experience it.”
At the event participants will place a blindfold on their eyes as they eat dinner. This is a firsthand experience about how challenging it can be to eat a meal that you cannot see. “So many people do not want to come to the event because they don’t want to be blindfolded while they are eating,” said Thomas. “My own relatives will not come because they refuse to put the blindfold on.”
Thomas asks people to just think about the visually impaired who live this every day and can’t take the blindfold off.
The Vision Resource Center enhances the lives of adults and children from the ages of 6 to 86 by making sure they have the most fruitful life possible. “We want to make sure they are independent and socializing,” said Thomas. “Being visually impaired can easily happen to anyone via diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, a brain tumor and other medical conditions.” Thomas added that visually impaired adults often feel nonexistent and will isolate themselves from the world.
The proceeds will be used to reach the people who don’t necessarily come into the center by helping them with the accessories needed, which will help them cook more safely and move around the house easier.
“They need help with getting to their doctor’s appointments and the grocery store along with other daily living skills,” said Thomas. “People want the skills based on their sight levels that are deteriorating and they need to know what to do now.” Thomas added they plan to purchase the apparatus, Amazon Echo, that reads to the visually impaired person, tells them the weather and time and plays music. Electric skillets will be purchased for them as well as offering an independent cooking class that teaches them how to use the skillet.
“We have been blessed with a vision rehab specialist,” said Thomas. “They go into the homes and show the visually impaired how to set up their home to make it more user friendly and do orientation mobility.” Thomas added that the specialist teaches them the number of steps to take and how to navigate around your home without help.
Live entertainment and a silent auction will take place at the event. Tickets are $75 per person and $125 per couple. The Hellenic Center is located at 614 Oakridge Avenue. For more information call 483-2719.