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Arkansas Lighthouse for the Blind to host "Dining in the Dark" | Arts & Culture

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Arkansas Lighthouse for the Blind to host "Dining in the Dark"
Arkansas Lighthouse for the Blind to host "Dining in the Dark"

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Supporters of Arkansas Lighthouse for the Blind (ALB) invite the community to support its 75th anniversary “Dining in the Dark” fundraiser on Thursday, Sept. 17 at 6:30 p.m.

The event will be held in the Ballroom at Noah’s Event Venue located at 21 Rahling Circle in Little Rock.

During “Dining in the Dark,” dining enthusiasts will have the opportunity to discover how darkness will enhance their senses of smell and taste while supporting the employment of Arkansans who are blind. After a lighted reception and silent auction outside the ballroom, guests will meet with employees of the Lighthouse who are blind or visually impaired. These individuals will assist attendees throughout the dining experience in complete darkness while encouraging them to use their other senses of taste, sound and touch.

According to National Industries for the Blind, seven out of 10 working-age Americans who are blind are not employed.

“We believe that every American deserves economic opportunity and independence,” said Jay Swindle, director of operations at the Lighthouse. Support for Arkansas Lighthouse for the Blind – whether it comes in the form of corporate philanthropy, memorial or celebration gifts, or annual fund donations – allows us to continue to provide employment opportunities for Arkansans who are blind or visually impaired; the number of employees who are blind or visually impaired has been steadily increasing to meet the needs of new product lines. Moreover, National Industries for the Blind has consistently recognized us for employment retention, growth and upward mobility.”

The Lighthouse announced in August that it is looking to hire 29 more people who are blind or visually impaired – amounting to a 58 percent increase in employment of persons who are legally blind.

Begun in 1940 as the dream of the late Rev. Jeff Smith, a Methodist minister who was blind, Arkansas Lighthouse for the Blind’s first operation was in a small workshop behind the Arkansas School for the Blind. Dedicated by Helen Keller, a small workshop operated in east Little Rock before the current manufacturing operation opened at 69th and Murray streets in 1966.

Limited seating is available for “Dining in the Dark.” Event proceeds support the mission of the Lighthouse to improve occupational opportunity and public perception of Arkansans who are blind or visually impaired. For more information about tickets to “Dining in the Dark,” you may contact Bethany Howell at bhowell@arkansaslighthouse.org or by calling (501) 492-7507. Donations can also be made online at www.arkansaslighthouse.org.


In addition to Hewlett-Packard as the event’s presenting sponsor, other sponsors include Health Advantage, Clark Power Corporation, Simmons First Bank, Jones Eye Institute, Arkansas Artificial Eye Clinic-Alloplastic Reconstruction, Little Rock Eye Clinic, CBM Construction Co., Delta Dental/Delta Vision, Keith Smith Honey Bee & Wildlife Removal, and The Strauss Family – in memory of Sam Strauss.