By Tricia Goecks

BDR Editor

MACHESNEY PARK – Only one thing could get 1,400 people to leave the warmth of their homes on a night when the mercury dipped to -5 degrees. And that was chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.
The Arc of Winnebago, Boone and Ogle counties held their eighth annual Chocoholic Frolic on Feb. 19. The event moved this year to a new venue at Forest Hills Lodge. With 46 vendors offering sample sizes of truffles, chocolate milk, chocolate fountain, cupcakes, cookies, the main question was how many unique ways that chocolate can be made into a yummy treat.
“We are so thrilled that so many people would come out and support this organization,” Amy Newell, executive director of The ARC of Winnebago, Boone and Ogle Counties said.
The ARC chapter serves over 200 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities through a variety of programs including referral services, skills training, social activities, outreach, and advocacy.
The ARC chapter got its start in 1966 when parents of disabled children met in each other’s homes in Belvidere for mutual support and to promote the welfare of people with disabilities and to work with public and private agencies. The chapter was incorporated in 1972.
One of the most popular vendors at the Chocoholic Frolic was Goldie’s Gourmet Goodies from Rockton. Cori Delavan and Annie brought 700 spoon sized samples of their inside out cupcakes and their entire stock was depleted in the first 45 minutes.
Goldie’s Gourmet Goodies is a business run through the Goldie B. Floberg Center in Rockton. The center provides employment and vocational training opportunities for people with developmental disabilities who live in supervised community homes. The center runs 20 group homes for children, teens and adults with developmental disabilities with three or four residents per household.
Previously, 55 residents lived at the Goldie B. Floberg Center. “We decided to repurpose the building,” Cori Delavan, director of business partnerships said. “We use part of it as a day training program. We have a science room, art room, atrium, and farming area.”
Delavan was frustrated that some of the clients served through the Floberg Center were denied employment opportunities through the DORS (Department of Rehab Services) program. “The DORS program was denying several of them saying that they were too disabled to have a job,” Delavan said. “Several people and I thought they were not.”
“Anyone who wants to have a job should have a job.”
And so, Goldie’s Gourmet Goodies got its start.
The employees at Goldie’s Gourmet Goodies make inside out cupcakes. The cupcakes are filled with buttercream frosting and topped with glazes, nuts and candies. “They love to make it,” Delavan said of their employees.
The cupcakes are sold at farmers markets and through their website. Recently a woman ordered several cupcakes and had them delivered to her daughter who is a student at Beloit College.
The Goldie B. Floberg Center runs several other micro businesses including a cleaning service and a café. “We have 20 houses and a young lady who enjoys cleaning,” Delavan said of the cleaning service.
“They earn no less than minimum wage,” Delavan said. “I will not employ them if I cannot run the micro business and they can earn at least minimum wage.”

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