In the beautiful Rancho Mirage Community Park, on a gorgeous warm fall day, eating all kinds of fantastic Italian food at The Italian Festival, and enjoying every minute of it. This was all to benefit the desert charity; Desert Arc, which in itself is a great reason to venture out to this festive event. The Italian Festival is everyone’s ticket to Italy in the desert.
Desert Arc History:
Desert Arc was founded in 1959 by a group of parents who wanted to expand the horizons of their developmentally disabled children’s lives with educational programs and recreational services. In 1969, property was purchased in Palm Desert, and a vocational training workshop program for disabled adults was established. In 1983, program operations were moved when the first phase of the current facility was built on donated property to provide expanded programs for more than 50 mentally and physically disabled adults. In 1999, Desert Arc constructed its 26,000-square-foot building at the Palm Desert Campus where vocational training and employment is provided to clients through the operation of on-site businesses. Desert Arc also added two satellite locations one in the Town of Yucca Valley and more recently a fully operational recycle center in the City of Indio. Today, Desert Arc serves 600+ clients. Desert Arc serves adults 18 and older with developmental disabilities, including autism, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, epilepsy, and other medical conditions. Many have multiple disabilities and 99% are low income and receive Social Security and Medicare benefits. Currently Desert Arc has more than 650 clients enrolled in various programs. In total, 900 clients are enrolled in all programs throughout the Coachella Valley and the Morongo Basis, and offers services to clients as far west as Temecula and as far east as Blythe. The client base of Desert Arc is growing at an average of 3-5% per year.
With the goal of helping each client live as independently as possible, a broad array of programs and services tailored to the unique needs of each client are offered. They include: vocational training; job development; job placement and employment; independent living support with 24 hour emergency assistance; hot meals and nutrition; transportation; support and training for self help and independent living; case management and personalized coordination of client services; advocacy for client needs and community integration.
Their Mission is to enhance the quality of life and create opportunities for people with disabilities.
The food vendors included: Fantasy Springs Casino, Mario’s Italian Kitchen, Castelli’s Restaurant, Fisherman’s Market and Grill, Liveri’s of Palm Springs, Irresistirollz, Desert Arc Kitchen, Agape Church, La Donne Cucina Italiana, Funnel Frenzy, Pizzeria Villagio, Beach Bar Italian Ice, Matteo Pasquini Espresso Bar. I tried delicious a meatball sandwich, a great Caesar Salad, and a perfect calamari fritti, my favorites. There were delightful food demonstrations, puppet show, face painting, arts and crafts, display of vintage Itlain cars, cake decorating contest, and of course live music.
All I can say what a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Palm Desert. Some of my friends showed up and fun was had by all!
* Note some content was taken from their website.