Healthy Food Fuels Happy Campers!

August 3, 2023

We are excited to share news of a wonderful partnership with the ARC of the Capital Area this summer! The ARC’s Culinary Class which teaches cooking and catering skills along with healthy eating habits to adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities has partnered with Candlelight Ranch to provide restaurant quality meals for the children and families served through Camp Glimmer.

The ARC of the Capital Area is a nonprofit organization in Austin, committed to empowering individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families through compassionate case management and innovative programs. Founded in 1949, The ARC of the Capital Area is one of the oldest continuously operating non-profits in Austin. The ARC provides a wide range of services to its “Citizens” including Family & Juvenile Transition Services, Health & Wellness, Pet Therapy, Arts & Education, Independent Living, and Employment Services.

The ARC’s Culinary Class teaches its students the skills necessary to cater healthy meals for large groups and events. This team of dedicated students led by chef and teacher, Connor Carpenter, has prepared each meal and snack for our Camp Glimmer participants while utilizing the Ranch’s newly remodeled kitchen. This partnership has proven to be incredibly successful, saving time for staff and delivering delicious, healthy meals for campers, while educating our children and families on how yummy healthy eating can be. Every meal was tailored to the unique needs of each camp group and served a diversity of dietary needs and allergies.

This incredible team of culinary students has made a big impact on the children and families who visited the Ranch this summer. Food insecurity is a daily challenge for the children we serve, as summer break brings exceptional challenges for families living at or below the poverty line who rely heavily on school meals to ensure their children receive the nutrition they need. Because of the careful planning of each meal by the ARC’s Culinary Class each scrumptious lunch and snack brought delight to campers who rarely get to experience such a healthy spread. Roasted chicken, watermelon salad, veggie bowls and tacos with all the fixings thrilled campers, parents and even the pickiest eaters, as one camper stated, “wow I feel like I’m at a booshie brunch!”. We are so thankful for the hard work and expertise of Mr. Carpenter and his students for bringing so much joy to our campers!

The ARC’s chefs come from residential facilities from around the Austin area and the program provides both job and life skills for its students. Not only have the students of this class been able to make a lasting impact on the children and families of the Ranch but have been able to learn new skills within a safe, welcoming environment. These culinary students have made big waves at the Ranch this season and we are excited to partner with them once again to provide meals for campers during the 2024 summer season.