Besides the obvious reason to gorge on little donut delights made in all different forms – sweet and savory, Beignet Fest Founders Amy and Sherwood Collins are drawn to a larger purpose.
Having a child with a developmental delay requires accommodations that typical children do not need. Imagine trying to teach a kid to swim when all they want to do is curl up into a ball in the water? How do you advise a kid to be part of a group task when they are traditionally stuck in their own little world? How do you coach a child when he is too excited to listen to an explanation?
Amy and Sherwood Collins found out through their journey with their son, Liam, who was diagnosed at age three with Autism, that New Orleans was particularly lacking in opportunities for children on the Autism Spectrum, the most common form of developmental delay.
For Amy and Sherwood, this was the main driver behind starting the festival.
According to the Centers for Disease Control 1 in 36 children is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It occurs 4 times more often in boys than girls. Plus, ASD is the most common disability cited for special education students in Louisiana public schools.
Amy and Sherwood wanted to do something to help their son and the thousands of other families in New Orleans struggling to find programs.
Bringing together the tremendous need for programs to serve children with Autism and their idea about a food festival centered around beignets, Amy and Sherwood created Beignet Fest and the corresponding Beignet Fest Foundation, which makes grants with the proceeds from the festival.
Beignet Fest Foundation Board Members
Children with developmental delays need to have opportunities to play, swim, and participate just like all kids. They just need a little more help to do so. And we want to give it to them!- Sherwood Collins, Beignet Fest Founder
All proceeds from Beignet Fest benefit the 501c3 nonprofit organization, Beignet Fest Foundation. The mission of the Beignet Fest Foundation is to celebrate, embrace and enhance the lives of children with developmental delays and disabilities by presenting them as whole beings, and to support organizations that do the same.
Each year, the Beignet Fest Foundation makes grants to support New Orleans-area programs that serve children with development delays.
Check out all of our Beignet Fest supporters here