Herkimer, NY – Copper Café, located in Ilion and owned & operated by Arc Herkimer, recently received a donation from the Bonacci family.

The family donated $1,000 to the eatery in honor of Mrs. Bonacci’s mother, Augustina “Gussie” Brindisi, who recently passed away at the age of 100. The funds were dedicated to a series of baking classes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Accompanying the donation was a recipe for Gussie’s Italian Ricotta Cookies, which participants have continuously learned to prepare step-by-step under the tutelage of Copper Café Head Chef Eric Kennedy.

“This is a unique donation for our organization, as the Bonacci family is not only supporting the café but also providing an opportunity for people supported to grow life skills and have a creative outlet,” says Catherine Loomis, Arc Herkimer Vice President of Community Engagement and Career Development. “An individual with a disability who acquires cooking or baking skills enhances their employability; it is also a great recreational activity, builds social skills by cooking with friends, and increases independence.”

The first cookie class took place during the holidays and have continued since that time. Bakers-in-training includes people with disabilities who reside in agency-owned homes, participants of day habilitation, and those who take part in vocational programming. Individuals who attended the cookie classes have learned the art of baking, including measuring, mixing, kitchen cleanup, and, of course, taste testing.