Thursday, May 2, 2013

MaxiAids Team Experiences a Meal without Sight at Long Island Council of the Blind’s ‘Dinner in the Dark’ Event

MaxiAids' Senior Management Team. Front Row (l to r): Barry Greenblatt, Terese Butler, Elliot Zaretsky. Back Row (l to r): Barry Reiter, Larry DiBlasi

Farmingdale, NY – May 1, 2013 – This past Monday Elliot Zaretsky, president and founder of MaxiAids Products for Independent Living , along with the company’s senior management team participated in the 5th annual Dinner in the Dark event at The Sterling in Bethpage.

According to the event sponsor, the Long Island Council of the Blind (LICB), Dinner in the Dark was created “as a way of showing the community-at-large that eating does not always require that one see the meal on the plate to enjoy its taste.”

It’s also a great way to raise awareness about how visually impaired people function in their everyday lives.

And this year’s event had an extra special meaning for MaxiAids, as Mr. Zaretsky was honored by the LICB for his lifelong dedication to helping people who are blind or who have low vision live more active, independent lives.

Lori Scharff of the Long Island Council of the Blind presents MaxiAids' President and Founder Elliot Zaretsky a plaque recognizing his contributions to the blind and low vision community

After a brief lesson and some helpful tips on how to efficiently navigate a table and place setting, guests enjoyed a three-course meal, with salad and the main course being eaten without sight. To accomplish this, diners were given sleeping masks and the lights were turned down to ensure they experienced the meal as a blind person does.

This was also an interesting challenge for the servers, who made their way around the tables and served plates of food only by the light of glow sticks.

After dinner, the lights were brought up and as guests were able to look at their plates to see how they had done. Over dessert they had a chance to discuss the experience.

“Re-filling a water glass without spilling it was challenging,” said Larry DiBlasi, MaxiAids’ executive director of operations. “And it was hard to judge the distance and position of place settings – you worry you’re taking someone else’s fork or drink.”

Some guests dove right in feeling around their plates with a knife and fork, while others used fingers help identify by texture what foods they had and where they were situated on the plate. Others acknowledged the difficulty accurately counting change at the cash bar.

One participant perceived heightened senses, feeling they were more aware of sounds and conversations around them, and they even thought food flavors seemed more intense.

“It was definitely a valuable, interesting and educational experience,” concluded Mr. DiBlasi. “I’m sure we’ll draw upon it frequently as we are developing and designing new products to assist the blind and those with low vision.”

Get more information about MaxiAids Products for Independent Living and its products.

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