The Arc's profit sharing candle program helps people with disabilities earn and learn

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Submitted/George Laigaie of Galloway pours gel into a No-Cal Fruit Pie candle. Submitted/George Laigaie of Galloway pours gel into a No-Cal Fruit Pie candle.

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP -  The scent of success is wafting through The Arc of Atlantic County’s headquarters thanks to a new twist on their gel candle program that helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) learn skills and earn an income.

The Arc AnGels candle program is part of The Arc’s Career Exploration Program and has been in operation since 2003.  Recently The Arc expanded the program to include more candle-makers, new products and a bigger push for sales.  Through this program, people with I/DD are learning the craft of gel candle-making, how to effectively sell their products and much more – skills that may eventually help them find employment outside of The Arc. 

The product line is extensive and appeals to a wide range of tastes and occasions.  Valentine’s Day candles are the current hot seller and include champagne and wine glasses adorned with silk roses; heart-shaped votives; and pink and red mugs of ‘cocoa’ with marshmallows on top, among others. 

The candle-makers have also jumped on the green product bandwagon and scour thrift shops to repurpose like-new glassware and other vessels into candles, instead of purchasing them from wholesalers as they have in the past.  They will even fill a customer’s own vessel.

“Let’s say you have a closet full of coffee mugs or your grandmother’s crystal stemware that you hate to part with, but really don’t need. Rather than clutter up your cabinets, why not have us fill them with gel candles so you can use them or give them as gifts?” Diane Kalin, who oversees The Arc AnGels says. "Other popular items include their no-cal fruit pies that look and smell good enough to eat – without the guilt.  Their mocktails range from sour appletinis to margaritas and make the perfect gift for your favorite party animal.  Would you prefer a refreshing glass of lemonade? They can make those too, complete with a lemon wedge and ice cubes."

Kathi Lentz, The Arc’s operations director overseeing the Career Exploration Program, says, “The job market for people with I/DD is tougher than ever, but that doesn’t mean people with disabilities should give up on finding work. Through the candle program, we help them develop and maintain important skills for finding employment so when jobs do open up, people are ready for them. By purchasing our gel candles, you’re not only getting a great product – you’re making a direct investment in your community.”

To purchase, go to The Arc of Atlantic County, 6550 Delilah Road, Suite 101, Egg Harbor Township, call (609) 485-0800 or go to www.arcatlantic.org.

Submitted/Warm up your sweetie with these pink and red Valentine's Day mugs filled with cocoa scented gel and topped with marshmallows. Submitted/Warm up your sweetie with these pink and red Valentine's Day mugs filled with cocoa scented gel and topped with marshmallows.


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