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Z-Club's Dinner in the Dark

Alex Gandhi

On Saturday, November 5, the Zonta Club held its annual Dinner in the Dark, a fundraising event targeted at raising money for Orbis International, an organization that helps the visually impaired.
“Our event aims to have people experience what it is like to be blind just for one meal, so this event raises awareness and money at the same time,” said Varshika Kanthadai (11).
This year’s participants paid for a ticket to participate in games and activities as well as to eat a three-course meal. In the two weeks leading up to the event, ticket prices were $90 in the first week and $100 in the second week. They also sold tickets at the entrance of the event for $150. A total of $23,740 was raised at this event.
Upon entering, participants were blindfolded and then seated in the cafeteria. “We serve appetizers, main course, and dessert and in between, we have games that encourage people to use their other senses,” Kanthadai added. In addition to the food and games, Dinner in the Dark featured performances from Anastasia Hudak (9), Caroline Spackman (10), Dixie Lonergan (10), and Liam Carvey (10).
Christian Kirk (11), a first-time participant of Dinner in the Dark, said that attending the event raised his own awareness of what it is like to be blind. “It was really difficult for me to do all the activities they had planned for us,” said Kirk. “I didn’t think everything would be as hard as it was.”
“Throughout the entire dinner I had no idea where I was in the cafeteria,” said Kirk. He claimed that he was very surprised to find out where he was after the event was over.
Kanthadai mentioned that this year's attendance was much higher than previous years’ dinners with “20 tables of four people.”
According to Kanthadai, the increased turnout was a direct result of more advertising and a wider targeted range. “We talked to the middle school principal, who shared it on the middle school announcements,” said Kanthadai. “We really tried to encourage more families and teachers to come and I think that paid off because we had a big family turnout.” She also attributed the event’s success to the overall planning and organization.
Kanthadai was very satisfied with the outcome of this event. “I think people got a really good experience and really raised awareness of the struggles of visual impairment,” she expressed.
“I feel like the event as a whole was done well,” said Kirk. “I enjoyed the whole experience and the activities were really enjoyable.” Kirk noted that his awareness of blindness was increased throughout the entire event.
In March 2017, Z Club will be hosting Encore, a big fundraising music competition.

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