MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Every Tuesday, as part of our Community Changers Series, we highlight organizations making Memphis better. This week, we caught up with a group that believes in abilities versus disabilities.
Bluff City Toffee handcrafts delicious toffee. It was recently purchased by Madonna Learning Center, a school and workplace learning program for children and adults with special needs.
Once students graduate from school, they can take part in their “Continuing Education” class which helps with valuable job skills.
After your life skills, then you work on your work skills so that you can get employment in the community,” said Rob Crone, the supervisor of the Continuing Education class.
He has a sibling with special needs, so he knows the importance of inclusion and being valued.
“You give them that sense of purpose. Rather than going home and hanging out, they come here and be with their friends. They get to work. They get to learn life skills,” said Crone.
Rachel, along with Libby and Elizabeth are trainees at Bluff City Toffee.
Libby is in charge of hand selecting each perfect piece of toffee once it’s divided. Elizabeth is responsible for carefully weighing each batch then placing the toffee in the bag. Rachel seals the bag with a sealer and places it into the freezer.
As orders come in, the trainees in the store, as well as at Madonna Learning Center, fold boxes, stuff each gift bag and top it off with ribbons.
They learn every aspect of the business– a true hands-on experience.
“Making the product, packing the product and also just using technology to sell the product online,” said Kay Hardin, the adult program director.
“They’re so talented. They’re so responsible and they work so hard,” said Hardin.
Brown Missionary Baptist Church gave Bluff City Toffee $1,000 because when you focus on your neighbor’s abilities versus disabilities, you build a much more inclusive community.
If you would like to learn more about Bluff City Toffee and Madonna Learning Center, click the links below.
If you know a group making a difference in our community, head to Community Changers to nominate them.