Middletown Hot Dog Cart Gives Adults With Disabilities The Opportunity To Run A Business



MIDDLETOWN – Local non-profit Futures Inc. recently began operating a hot dog cart at its Broad Street location to provide another lunch option for residents and to give adults with disabilities the opportunity for meaningful employment.

The Kitchen at Futures Inc., located at 158 ​​Broad Street, purchased a hot dog cart which opened in late June. Last Wednesday, the organization began operating a take-out lunch service to offer alternative meals like sandwiches, salads and baked goods.

Pamela DonAroma, President and CEO of Futures Inc., said it was a long overdue step towards their goal.

“Our goal is to create interesting jobs,” said DonAroma.

She explained that some people have difficulties that prevent them from finding another job, so her organization is looking to find opportunities for them.

DonAroma said the hot dog cart serves an additional purpose. This creates a job opportunity, but also allows employees to learn an industry and try their hand at running a micro-business.

“A micro-business is like an introduction to running your own business,” DonAroma said. “It’s very trendy right now.”

She said her organization has received grants from the city and community foundations to support people who have ideas for their own micro-business.

In the first few weeks, the hot dog cart proved to be an effective way for individuals to socialize, earn money, and feel a sense of accomplishment, she said.

Ted Tabor, 56, of Middlefield, drives the cart on Fridays. He said it was a great opportunity so far, but hopes to have more clients.

“I wish we had more business, that would be even better,” Tabor said.

Tabor said he liked the idea of ​​running a micro business because he had always been interested in selling. He said he frequently goes to flea markets to try his hand at pricing different items.

Her favorite part of her new job so far has been interacting with the community.

“Meeting new people – that’s about the best thing,” Tabor said.

William Prevatte, 25, of Middletown, drives the cart on Wednesdays. He shared Tabor’s opinion on the best part of the job.

“The best part is just interacting with the audience,” Prevatte said.

Prevatte explained that on his day off, he went to police and fire stations to distribute flyers to promote the company.

Supervising manager Wayne Stocking said he informed the cart staff that the harder they worked to promote the business, the more customers they would get. He said he expected business to start picking up.

“I think once people know we’re here regularly and some of the restrictions are lifted, we’ll have more regulars,” Stocking said.

The hot dog cart is open 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Broad Street location. The menu includes chicken or beef hot dogs with all the usual toppings including chili, cheese, sauerkraut and onions. Crisps and drinks are also available for purchase.

The Kitchen at Futures Inc. also sells its produce at the Middletown Farmers Market, which is held every Friday.

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