Enjoy these videos and images from the event
Dinner in the Dark for blind veterans. On October 4, 2014, in partnership with The Positive Vibe Cafe in Richmond Virginia, The Blind Veterans Association, and The Association of Night Vision Manufacturers, Helping the Heroes sponsored our first Dinner in the Dark event.
Dining in the Dark is a unique sensory awareness experience that gives guests a first-hand glimpse into the lives of those who are completely blind. This is a one-of-a kind experience and a culinary encounter of heightened senses.
During the dinner guests are challenged to navigate a meal without sight in an experience that many of the almost 198,000+ vision impaired wounded veterans and active duty endure daily. Food and wine for the meal is specially selected for its flavor and aroma to enhance the unique sensory awareness experience. Servers trained especially for the dinner deliver the food and help guests navigate the meal in their personal pitch blackness. They also serve as sighted guides as they would for any blind person should guest need to move or require other assistance during the meal. This begins with guiding guests to their seats and continues throughout the meal to include any requirement for guests to leave for the restrooms or other reasons during the dinner. Vision impaired speakers and guests participating in the event share their own stories and experiences of living with low to no vision.
Guest speakers from Operation Peer Support included SFC Dan Wallace (Ret.), and Ssgt Brian Pearce (Ret.) with Special guest speaker Dr. Michael Peterson TBI Low Vision Optometrist from the TBI Polytrauma Clinic at McGuire Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center Richmond in Richmond, Virginia. The TBI clinic at McGuire is one of only five such VA facilities in the United States.
The event location was equally unique and chosen to leverage Helping the Heroes core approach to develop and empower communities in all we do. So much more than “just another restaurant”, Positive Vibe Cafe provides training in the food service industry for people with disabilities in the Richmond, Virginia areas and helps our graduates obtain employment. Operated by The Positive Vibe Foundation, the Café is an evolving model for training and employing people with disabilities in order that they enjoy the satisfactions of being gainfully employed and fully contributing members of our community. This focus allows their confidence to self- actualize through the development of their diverse talents. One goal of our future efforts is to enroll our disabled heroes into the Positive Vibe Café’s training program so they can pursue careers in the restaurant, food service, and hospitality industry.
For this event Chef Gary Cotton and the staff of the Positive Vibe Café created a one-of-a kind experience and a culinary encounter of heightened senses. During dinner, guests are challenged to navigate a meal without sight.During desert guys wore specially designed glasses to simulate the various vision impairments afflicting our veterans. A high point of the evening was the opportunity to try state-of-the-art night vision equipment and learn how America’s Night Vision Manufactuers are exploring use of this technology to help the vision impaired.
Many of the attendees remarked it was an informative and moving experience they would never forget.
To help support future Dinner in the Dark events please make a tax deductible donation.
Contact us to host a Dinner in the Dark for your company, group, in your area or to attend our next dinner.