Blind Center faces need for new air conditioner units
Published 9:21 pm Tuesday, June 18, 2019
For decades, the Blind Center of North Carolina has provided services and a sense of community for people with visual impairments in Beaufort County. From creating crafts to teaching independent living skills, the center makes a difference in the lives of its clients every day.
With summer officially starting next week, however, the Blind Center faces a major need that could impact its ability to provide services. Three aging air conditioning units, along with a compressor in the building’s attic, are on the verge of failure, according to Blind Center Director Christie Moler. As a result, the center faces a need of approximately $15,000.
“Each unit is about $5,000,” Moler said. “We have amazing donors that have come through, but this is just bigger than our base. It’s not just that we want a better building. Most of our people are over 60, and they can’t deal with the heat.”
So far, the Center has raised close to $3,000 of that goal, receiving a $500 donation from Washington (evening) Rotary, gifts from local Sunday school classes and other private donations.
For the clients at Blind Center’s services, the fellowship and services are invaluable.
“The whole point of the Blind Center, first and foremost, is to provide a place where the visually impaired can come and hang out together,” Moler said. “That sounds kind of simple and kind of basic and it doesn’t sound like something that would be really important, but it is.”
With clients scattered throughout Beaufort County, none of whom can drive, the Blind Center provides much-needed social interactions for its clients. Moler says this community helps stave off the sense of isolation that can come with being stuck at home, sometimes without transportation.
“The center provides that place that they can come and be with people who understand what they’re going through and get tips about how to handle certain things,” Moler said. “It wards off depression and anxiety. It gives them a place they can go independently, because they can ride BATS to get here.”
Beyond the benefits of being together, clients also have access to a state social worker who can assist them with their needs, including assistive technologies that can make daily living easier.
Supporting the Center’s mission, clients create handmade crafts, ranging from colorful woven baskets and hand-pressed greeting cards to wicker stools and paracord bracelets — all for sale in the center’s gift shop. These crafts, alongside annual fundraisers, private donations and the practice of recycling aluminum cans for cash, make up the lion’s share of the Center’s funding, making the $15,000 need a challenge to overcome.
“If people can’t make a significant donation, if they wanted to come in and buy something from our gift shop, they’re contributing to the Blind Center,” Moler said.
For more information on the Blind Center, visit www.theblindcenter.org.