Friday, December 04, 2020

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Local Wine Tasting to Help Your Community

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Year after year, obtaining funds for services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities becomes more challenging. At the same time, the annual wine tasting fundraiser hosted by MARC Community Resources (MARC) grows in size and excitement.  "Red, White & Blush," a tradition in its fourth year, will be held on June 6 under the tent at Wesleyan University's beautiful campus, and features not only wine but beer, spirits, appetizers, desserts, tea, coffee and live music.

"This fundraiser is important because it helps us to provide services that are not funded through other sources," says Lori Lodge, MARC's Director of Development. She explains, "Those services are programs such as our Adult Skill Development & Leisure Program and our Outreach and Advocacy programs. Those services receive no funding but are important and integral to what we do. They help us to be able to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to integrate into their communities. "

MARC's consumers practice real life skills in the community through the Adult Skill Development and Leisure Program. They learn about safety and practice social skills. They learn money skills, how to make purchases, learn how to read menus, and how to order in restaurants. The program not only allows consumers to be part of the community but also provides respite for their families.

MARC's Outreach and Advocacy Program provides families and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities a place to turn to navigate programs, to find services, to be informed of laws, and to find out what's happening on a larger scale with budgets within the state and throughout the nation.  Lodge points out, "Our Outreach and Advocacy Program helps individuals we service with intellectual and developmental disabilities find their voice and advocate for themselves."

The wine tasting fundraiser, Lodge points out, "also helps us help individuals who aren't within the system." For example, there are those who are a bit older, whose families didn't want them to be labeled so they were never assigned a diagnosis and, as a result, will never be eligible for funding for services or housing. "We work with them, free of charge, to find their voice and also figure out other means, to be creative about where this person could live independently and function with support, what supports are available to them at little or no cost, and who could support this individual in the community."

Proceeds from this event help to fund MARC's expanded and enhanced services as previously mentioned, in addition to their core services which include individual and group job placements, vocational training, day services, residential and supported living services.  MARC provides services to individuals throughout Middlesex County and Central Connecticut.

"What we hear from businesses that hire our consumers is that they bring so much to their business. Employees of those businesses look forward to seeing them and it just enriches the whole work environment. They are dedicated and loyal workers.  They are hard workers. They bring with them a great work ethic. They do a lot of the jobs that many people wouldn't want to do. They take pride in it," says Lodge.

"Red, White & Blush," will be held on Saturday, June 6 from 6pm until 9pm. Forest City Wine & Spirits partners to bring in distributors, and Bon Appétit, Wesleyan's caterer, is providing appetizers and desserts. There is a large silent auction as well.  Businesses or individuals interested in providing an auction item or in sponsoring the event should contact Lodge directly.

Tickets are $30 per person, "a great value for all that you get!," Lodge adds.  Tickets are available at MARC's website, MarcCommunityResources.org, by calling Lodge at 860.342.0700 x215, and at MARC, 124 Washington Street in Middletown.


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