Category Archives: General

RCAL Awarded Grant from Darden Restaurants Foundation

Organization Contact:

Janae Myers
(845) 331-0541 ext. 20

Darden Media Contact:
Jenni Izzo
(407) 657-4818

 Resource Center for Accessible Living, Inc. and Darden Restaurants Partner to Empower Disabled Individuals to Live Independently

[Kingston, NY] – March 11, 2014 – Resource Center for Accessible Living, Inc. (RCAL) today announced it has been selected to receive a $2,000 grant as part of the Restaurant Community Grants program from the Darden Restaurants Foundation, Inc., the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants. RCAL will utilize this grant with its close community partner, Ulster County Office for the Aging (OFA).

The grants program, now in its third year, empowers each restaurant in the Darden family of brands to help award a $1,000 grant to support local community programs. The donation will enable RCAL and OFA to carry out their vision to assist and empower elderly and disabled individuals to live healthfully and independently, and to participate in all aspects of community life.

Darden’s Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House brands participated in the program. Many restaurants and brands worked together to award one nonprofit organization with a larger grant and make a greater impact in their community.  Nonprofits receiving grants support one of Darden’s three key focus areas: education, preservation of natural resources and hunger relief.

“Some of our employees focus their efforts toward Home Delivered Meals,” said Susan Hoger, Chief Executive Officer of RCAL. “That is where we would like to utilize this gift—for emergency meals for people with food insecurity.”

“We strive to make a positive impact in all the communities our restaurants serve,” said Gene Lee, Darden’s president and chief operating officer. “Our employees are incredibly passionate about getting directly involved in their local communities, and our Restaurant Community Grants program enables each of our restaurant teams to make a difference right in their own backyard.”

This $2,000 will make all the difference in our mission of working with people in Ulster County who need assistance in their journey toward independence. RCAL, in partnership with OFA, will have a greater budget and opportunity to help obtain and provide nutritious meals and any other related, necessary services.

For more information about the Darden Foundation, please visit
For additional information on RCAL please visit
Also visit

About RCAL

Our Mission is to assist people with disabilities to open the doors of opportunity and independence in the Ulster County region through self-determination by creating disability understanding and awareness, and access community-wide.

About OFA

The Office for the Aging is a department of Social Services that assists Ulster County seniors to be as independent as possible, for as long as possible in their own home with support. We work as advocates for seniors, offering information and referrals, as well as providing programs for a variety of services.

About Darden Restaurants

Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), owns and operates more than 2,100 restaurants that generate over $8.5 billion in annual sales.  Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing more than 200,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people.  In 2014, Darden was named to the FORTUNE “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for the fourth year in a row.  Our restaurant brands – Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us.  Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want.  For more information, please visit

The Darden Foundation

The Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation is the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants, Inc. The Darden Foundation’s mission is to maintain a spirit of service and community engagement as defining characteristics of Darden’s family of restaurants – Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House. Since 1995, the Darden Foundation has awarded more than $71 million in grants to leading nonprofit organizations that align with its mission and community priorities: Recipe for Success®, Preservation of Natural Resources and Good Neighbor grants. Through the Darden Harvest program, Darden Restaurants has also donated more than 66 million pounds of food to hunger relief agencies across the U.S. and Canada. In 2011, the Darden Foundation introduced the Restaurant Community Grants program that is dedicated to supporting local nonprofit organizations in the hundreds of communities where we live and serve. For more information, please visit



Darden Grantee Press Release

RCAL Generates Awareness

RCAL Logo Modified
“Opening the Doors of Opportunity”

March 4, 2014

Contact: Janae Myers, Office Administrator          845-221-0541 ext. 20

RCAL Intends to Generate Awareness of Services for People with Disabilities

“It is not unusual for someone to either walk in here or to call here and they are not exactly sure why,” said Resource Center for Accessible Living, Inc.’s (RCAL) Chief Executive Officer, Susan Hoger.

Often, people with disabilities are unaware of the services that are available to them or uncertain as to how they can obtain the ones they need. The staff at RCAL is continuously trying to make more services available, known and accessible.

Beginning in April 2014, RCAL will feature one of its services per month in the effort to make the Ulster County community more aware of what the organization and surrounding area has to offer for people with disabilities.

In addition to the services that RCAL provides, respective organizations and community services will be highlighted, encouraging community-wide participation and action.

RCAL is an organization created by people with disabilities for people with disabilities. It is a consumer-driven agency; what the consumers need, RCAL makes happen.

The vision is to “create a fully accessible, integrated community without barriers for people with disabilities, and to assist and empower disabled individuals to live independently and participate in all aspects of community life.”

Supportive employment opportunities for people with disabilities, a service offered by RCAL, will be discussed in April. Ulster County businesses have already gotten involved with this program.

‘Like’ Resource Center for Accessible Living, Inc. on Facebook to receive the latest information about local services, events and other efforts related to accessible independent living for people with disabilities.

Visit for an entire list of services, articles and other related information.

Our Mission is to assist people with disabilities to open the doors of opportunity and independence in the Ulster County region through self-determination by creating disability understanding and awareness, and access community-wide.


RCAL Advocates in Albany

RCAL staff participated in a successful advocacy day on February 25, sponsored by the New York Association on Independent Living at the state Capitol in Albany. Together, with over 200 advocates from around the state, we met with local legislators to push for increased funding for Independent Living Centers, key budget priorities and legislative items including protecting the rights of dual eligible New Yorkers (covered by both Medicare and Medicaid) who will be enrolled in mandatory managed long-term care.

If you would like more details on the day’s priorities, feel free to contact RCAL’s systems advocate Keith Gurgui via e-mail at

New local push to get the disabled hired (WKTV)

“UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) –  The New York State Independent Living Council (NYSILC)  is lobbying for equal opportunity and job access for people with disabilities.”

There is a 40% gap in the employment rate between disabled individuals and working adults without disability.

Advocates are contacting government officials, encouraging them to help raise employment rates for the unemployed people with disabilities by 10-15% over 10 years.

Legislatures are being educated about current barriers preventing disabled individuals from finding work and their potential role in creating employment opportunity for these people.

Read more at WKTV

Call to Action: NY State Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (SCIRP)

The NY State Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (SCIRP) continues in their endless effort toward finding a cure for Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI). Keith Gurgui, RCAL Systems Advocate, plays a major role in this effort and this SCIRP video. Please take a moment to watch this video and learn how you can help make a difference.

Video Link

The video explains how funding was created for this program in 1988, but taken away 12 years later. The #1 cause of Spinal Cord Injuries are Motor Vehicle Accidents. Initially, Paul Richter created a bill which would collect a surcharge on moving traffic violations, being these violations are linked to these injuries. While the surcharge is still being collected, it is not going to the NY SCI Research Program– it has been reallocated, though this was not the original statute of the law.

To voice your opinion and make a difference for people with SCI,  contact legislators and Gov. Cuomo and state, “I support the return of funds to the NY Spinal Cord Injury Research Program.”

New York State Assembly Members

Click here to contact Governor Cuomo [or call (518) 474-8390]