GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – This time of year the smell of popcorn fills every festival and fair.
For one local family, a summer popcorn stand turned into a passion for helping people with disabilities find jobs.
“You can call me Willy Wonka if you want” says Matthew Zimmerman with a laugh.
You will not find any Oompa Loompas here, just the Zimmerman family hard at work, surrounded by shelves of colorful popcorn.
“Our caramel apple tastes just like one but without the stick” says Amy Zimmerman.
The business popped into Amy’s head when she was dreaming up ways for her son Danny to find meaningful employment.
“People with intellectual disabilities, their employment is less than 15 percent” she explains.
Danny has a traumatic brain injury. It happened when he was two.
According to Amy “Some type of infection invaded his little brain, bounced all over and destroyed lots of tissue”.
Through the years Danny has made great strides, but is not-verbal. However, he is a leader in the kitchen.
“Danny likes to keep us on track of our jobs and what we need to do” Amy says.
The family likes experimenting with flavors and have more than 40 for sale. Their popcorn makes a great fundraiser or gift. They have also set up buffets for special events like weddings.
As the business grows, so does Danny.
“You just build on his strengths. I do not worry about what he can not do. I think about what he can do, and lets build on that” Amy says.
And now that the business is really popping Amy says “[Our goal] is to get other kids like Danny involved in this. It is the perfect fit for a lot of people with disabilities like Danny”.
To check out the flavors, and support this popcorn with a purpose head to: