Real Food Snacks employ with a mission

REAL FOODS: Theresa, Kate, Cathie and Shaniah from Real Food Snacks with their range of raw food chocolates and bliss balls.
REAL FOODS: Theresa, Kate, Cathie and Shaniah from Real Food Snacks with their range of raw food chocolates and bliss balls. Rachel Lang

CABOOLTURE Real Food Snacks hasn't only put a twist on chocolate - it has put a twist on business.

Cathie Rutherford and her husband Shane are on a mission to employ disadvantaged people while providing yummy health food snacks and chocolates to the Moreton Bay region.

Cathie runs her Deception Bay store with the help of a homeless teen and a young woman with Down syndrome.

Cathie said employing someone with a disability was personally very important to them.

"My husband has a sister who is disabled. It's always been our intention to have at least one employee who is disabled," the Caboolture woman said. "We were aiming to give disabled people a go, and when we grow bigger, we will be looking to employ more."

Cathie said they contacted Max Employment to hire someone with Down syndrome - the same disability her sister-in-law has.

North Lakes resident Kate Baker was the lucky applicant who got the job.

Kate's mum, Theresa Baker, said the job had done wonders for Kate's confidence.

"She absolutely loves it," Theresa said. "Her sense of responsibility is the thing I've noticed most. She has to get up, be at work on time and she has to be responsible."

While Kate is enjoying her relatively new financial independence, Theresa is grateful that there are businesses out there willing to give disabled people a go.

"It took us a good 12 months to actually find (a job for Kate). There's not a lot out there for people with disabilities.

"It's a matter of people taking our kids on, but people are busy. They have businesses to run, and people don't have time.

"They're not dealing with a mainstream person. They're dealing with someone with a disability, so therefore it takes more time and patience to teach them what to do.

"So people like Cathie and Shane are just brilliant."

Topics:  disability disadvantaged down syndrome employment

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