Organizations Hanover Arc and Hanover Community Support Services recently held the 10th annual “A Taste of Hanover” event where locals came together to support children and adults with disabilities while sampling dishes from various restaurants and companies around the county.
All proceeds from the April 30 event benefit the two organizations and help achieve their mission — they reached their goal of raising $24,000 from the evening.
“[It helps] people like our family, who have a son with specials needs, to be able to navigate this crazy world of special needs,” said Summer Foley, a Hanover resident who attended the event at Bass Pro Shops.
For the Foley family, it’s the one time that the five-member group could leave their home and enjoy something together.
“It’s just a really great place that we can thank them and for us to be able to be a family and do something fun together and support [the organizations],” Foley said.
Without the help of Hanover Arc and Hanover Community Support Services over the past year or two, Foley said she would not have survived. Her 2 1/2-year-old son, Henry “Thomas” Foley IV, has an intellectual delay and a disorder where he does not have any hormones, both of which he was diagnosed with early on in his life. In addition, the young child’s sight is poor because of what’s called coloboma of the eye, meaning his pupils are not circular and cut into his retina, inhibiting his eyesight. Because of another condition, one of his eyes is smaller than the other.
“He’s got quite a lot of big names going on for such a little guy,” Foley said about her son’s health condition.
With the help of the two organizations that hosted the event, the Foley family has been able to navigate through the special needs system to get both the financial and emotional help needed to adjust to the changes in their family dynamic.
“Hanover Arc has just been a godsend,” Foley said.
Hanover Community Support Services also assisted the family during the beginning tough times of the adventure by giving them funds to get by while Foley’s husband was temporarily unemployed.
“We were able to keep a roof over our head and our bills paid, things like that,” Foley said.
Twenty-two restaurants, chefs and caterers showed off some of their dishes and roughly 425 attendees enjoyed dinner, drinks and desserts in addition to putting their names in for “mystery gift bags” and bidding on silent auction items donated by local businesses.
But besides raising money to help individuals with disabilities, A Taste of Hanover was also first organized to raise awareness and let specials needs individuals and everyone else come together as one community, said Hamilton Holloway, president of the Hanover Arc.
“We thought what better way to do that then with all the wonderful food we have in Hanover, let’s get it together and have a party,” Holloway said.
And all the proceeds from the event help support Hanover Arc and Hanover Community Support Services fund summer programs and activities for families like the Foleys.
Besides helping support individuals with disabilities, the event also acts as an outlet for those people.
“So often children and adults with developmental disabilities often times do not have someone who is speaking for them in the community and this is a way for them to speak for themselves,” Holloway said.