Lunch in the Dark


00:00:00 Speaker 1 

Welcome to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of Western New York Independent Living (WNYIL). Our guest today is Rae Frank, director of Independent Living of the Genesee Region (ILGR). And I'm your host, Ernie Churchwell. Welcome to the program, Rae. 

00:00:14 Speaker 2 

Thank you, Ernie. Great to be here. 

00:00:16 Speaker 1 

It's our pleasure and for not the first time in the last few years, you're going to be holding a special event to help people from the community appreciate living with a certain kind of disability.  So, can you give us the big story on Lunch in the Dark? 

00:00:37 Speaker 2 

Sure. Well, so Lunch in the Dark is our disability simulation for people to understand what it's like to live with low vision or blindness. And we partner with the school for the Blind in Batavia, NY this is also a fundraiser. And so, we ask for $30.00 for the ticket price. And there will be a basket raffle and a 50/50 drawing as well. 

00:01:00 Speaker 1 

Alright, sounds fun and for it to be lunch in the dark, I gather that you're lowering the lights, but you don't want to encumber the servers from being able to do their job. So how are what the servers experience different from the patrons? 

00:01:18 Speaker 2 

Sure. Our guests are going to be wearing a a sleep mask and we will have a buffet set up in the gymnasium. So, before they even come into the gymnasium, they'll put their sleep mask on, and a human guide will come up and say I'm going to escort you into the room and then they get escorted to a table. They're not sure who they're going to be sitting with or what's going to be going on in the room. They'll be left there for a couple of minutes and then another guide will come over and ask them if they'd like assistance getting through the buffet line and they'll be helped with carrying their plate and finding out what food they're going to be bringing back to their table. 

00:01:54 Speaker 1 

Ah, and just to clarify for people, when you say a sleep mask, it's what most people would call a blindfold, except it's a kind of a fancy thing made of cloth and whatnot instead of just a paper costume type of item. 

And this has gone on for a few years. What sort of insights have you all gotten, or I should say, passed along to your participants in the previous incarnations? 

00:02:23 Speaker 2 

Some of our guests have called it life-changing, people really had no idea what it was like for individuals with no vision to try to socialize when they can't see what's going on, and many, many people have said that they needed days or weeks to process the experience. They learned so much that they did not know, and not only do they experience it for themselves, but we teach them how to help if they have their own events, if they're scheduling events or making arrangements to have people come to something that they're planning. There's things that they can do to help people with low vision as well, and we share that information at this event. 

00:03:02 Speaker 1 

Oh. Out of personal curiosity, when I've worked with people who are blind and have to assist them in getting through their meal, I've been told that it's often smart to use the clock system. Do your servers tell the participants that? 

00:03:23 Speaker 2 

Yes, we'll be teaching about the clock method, the plate method, where we'll say something like your potato is up at 12:00, and then you tell them where the rest of the food is located around the outside of the plate that we do use. 

00:03:38 Speaker 1 

Well, that certainly seems like a practical measure to do that, to try to tantalize potential participants. What's on the menu? 

00:03:50 Speaker 2 

We're having chicken parmesan, baked ziti, salad and some garlic knots. 

00:03:56 Speaker 1 

And I imagine there'll be some sort of dessert also, won't there? 

00:04:00 Speaker 2 

Yes, probably some cookies as well. 

00:04:04 Speaker 1 

Alrighty. Well, I mean, it's not something that a gourmond would go out of his way for, but it should certainly serve the purpose for that. We're actually running low on time. I'm sure people will have questions. How can they reach you? 

00:04:20 Speaker 2 

This event is going to be on April 25th from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and they can reach us by calling 585-815-8501 ext. 400. 

You do need to pre-register. 

00:04:34 Speaker 1 

OK. Thank you so much for being with us, Rae. 

00:04:37 Speaker 2 

Thank you. 

00:04:39 Speaker 1 

You've been listening to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of WNYIL. Our guest today was Rae Frank, director of ILGR. And I've been your host, Ernie Churchwell.