News Room« Go Back
Date Posted: 09/29/2017
Second Annual DHS Fall Food, Crafts Fair Celebrates Employment for People with Disabilities
For Immediate Release
Brandi Hinkle, DHS Deputy Chief of Communications
501-683-5286 desk or 501-350-5380 mobile
Second Annual Fall Food, Crafts Fair Celebrates Supported Employment for People with Disabilities
More than 20 vendors hawked their wares at the 2nd annual Arkansas Department of Human Services Fall Food and Crafts Fair held outside the Central Offices in downtown Little Rock, but it was more than just a way to draw a crowd and sell crafts.
All items were made by clients of the DHS Division of Developmental Disabilities Services and included custom-made rugs, fresh vegetables grown, jams and jellies, gift baskets, t-shirts, magnets, birdhouses and unique art pieces.
“Each item is more than just a product for sale,” said Division Director Melissa Stone. “There are unique and loving stories behind each piece, and it’s an opportunity for our clients to feel value and pride in what they’ve done when they are paid for their work.”
The Division provides funding for community and facility-based care and services to thousands of Arkansans and operates five residential Human Development Centers in Arkadelphia, Booneville, Conway, Jonesboro and Warren that are home to nearly 1,000 clients.
Its mission is to work with clients so they can be as independent as possible and have a high quality of life, Stone said.
“More than 120 clients at our center in Booneville create beautiful rugs from recycled scraps of material from a sock manufacturer,” Stone said. “Clients do all the work, from initial sorting of the scraps, dying materials and working the loom to weave assorted sizes of rugs. They can do custom pieces based on colors and size, and it provides a wonderful sense of accomplishment for them.”
A live auction with celebrity auctioneers Roger Scott, co-host of the Buzz 103.7 “Show With No Name,” and Rex Nelson, columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and social media blogger, allowed several clients to be recognized for their handmade items.
For more information about programs offered through DHS and DDS, visit humanservices.arkansas.gov.