A very special group of donorworx CNIB fundraisers were invited to attend a “Dine in the Dark” dinner at O’Noir restaurant in Toronto. The experience gave them a first-hand experience of the reality faced by those with vision loss. Two of our donorworx staff documented their one-of-a-kind dinner.
Donna Budz: I wanted to tell you what a wonderful evening my Team Plur had at O’NOIR. It was beyond memorable especially because I could enjoy some down time with the entire team. It was so nice to see everyone dressed up and we where all giddy with excitement and anticipation. Once we settled in we where taken to an lite area in the reception area and asked what our food of choice was. It was a three course meal. You could chose all three (so you knew what you where eating) or you could chose any combination 1- 2- 3 could be a surprise. Being the semi risk-taker that I am I chose my appetizer and dessert as a surprise and chose Marinated Shrimp on a bed of rice and vegetables. With that done we where all really starting to get nervous. We really didn’t know what to expect and how we would manage. But just like we do at the booth we put faith and trust in each other and off we went lead by a vision-impaired guide who lead us into the dining room, you place your hand on the persons shoulder ahead of you and then your entire party walks into a pre-darkness room where they close the door behind you. This is it as we all adjusted our sight from vision to blindness. The front door is then opened and still holding your buddies shoulder (in my case I was holding both of Briana’s shoulders) just to make sure I wasn’t going down. You stumble around your table and feel your way to your seat and the meal begins. When I say it is PITCH black I mean PITCH black – your sense of sight is literally turned off completely. We where all doing the same thing looking around for some small ray of light but it’s BLACK. You are served an app, main, and dessert. The dining room is full of chatter from other patrons, just like a normal dining room. Except that the dishes and glasses are plastic to prevent breakage (not a good idea to wear nice clothes – you might and probably will spill food and/or wine on yourself). If you ever need to go to the restroom, you call over a guide and they escort you back out to the light. We where laughing so much reaching out for each other not knowing how close or far we where from each other. I think the best part was that we got to enjoy time together after all our hard work my blessed team deserved this Incentive tenfold.
Briana: The staff dinner that I attended with my coworkers at O’Noir was a particularly amazing experience. Not only was the food and company amazing, but it was also a really great learning experience. For the last month, I have worked for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. O’Noir allowed me to get a real sense of the challenges that the blind and partially blind have to deal with on a day to day basis. Little things that I wouldn’t think about regularly became bigger tasks than I was used to. For example, I ordered a steak but failed to think about how I would cut it into more manageable pieces (luckily it came cut up for me). This dine-in-the-dark experience allowed me to further appreciate the work that I did while working on the CNIB campaign. Overall, I really enjoyed the experience. I would like to thank Donorworx for providing us with this opportunity and our campaign team for working so hard.