AIDB volunteers assist the visually impaired with holiday shopping

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The holiday shopping season can be overwhelming, but imagine doing it when you are sight-challenged, or have no sight at all.

"Just like anyone else they want to go Christmas shopping and pick up things for their loved ones without involving their loved ones," said Jennifer Rehfeld.  "They may need a little bit of assistance so staff and volunteers for the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind are walked with people that need assistance and shop with them."

Parkway Place Mall was the backdrop for Christmas shopping with a gentle and loving touch.  For some clients, it's a learning and socializing process and experience. For others, it's about getting through the process as smoothly as possible.

"Most sales associates are helpful but this time of year they are often really busy.  So having that additional person to walk along with them, to help them and let them know where things are, describing items.  That is a big part of it," said Rehfeld.

And you can easily see why having the guide is such an asset. Moving through the store during the December rush is hard anytime, but especially for the sight challenged.

"Oh yeah. It really helps they tell me the colors and find the size I'm looking for," said Arlene Starks.

And there are tools that help. Especially when it comes to helping shoppers coordinate what they are wearing, like bar codes.

"They come blank and I record.  Someone tells me the color, or I will remember the color and I will record it.  Scan this and it will say what color it is.  So when I come back to the closet and scan it, it tells me what color it is," Starks explained.

The group was treated to lunch by Piccadilly Cafeteria.