Vendors of America®

Blind Businessmen and Businesswomen
Building a Better America

Member of
American Council of the Blind, Together for a bright future

Go Directly to Text

  Navigation Bar  






What IS the Future of Randolph-Sheppard?

By Charles Glaser, RSVA President,
(Vendorscope Fall 2008)

I will answer this question quickly so that if you don’t read this whole message…
NO ONE KNOWS!  Now that we have that out of the way…

Read Previous Messages

What CAN be the Future of

Before we can look at the future; we should look at our evolution.  Federally sanctioned Randolph-Sheppard programs began to emerge shortly after President Franklyn D. Roosevelt signed into law “The Randolph-Sheppard Act” as a part of his “New Deal” initiative.  What was he thinking?  A man confined to a wheel chair creating a federal program for blind people.  It is apparent now that President Roosevelt was wise beyond his time.  This categorical program, although rising from humble beginnings, grew to be one of the largest food service providers in our country. 

The state programs evolved almost independently for many years.  In 1968, the vendor community finally came together to form RSVA and affiliate themselves with the American Council of the Blind.  In retrospect, this was one of the best things that we blind vendors could have done. 

By 1974, even Congress was aware of our success and amended our Act in an effort to make us more successful.  Unfortunately, we are now on nearly everyone’s radar screen that would like to share in our success.  We have turned back many advances by a variety of competitors who would undermine our program and there is no end in sight. 

Although we along with ACB and others have done much to preserve the Randolph-Sheppard program, the battle rages on.  We have formed the BEA and have perused a stronger relationship with the Rehabilitation Services Administration.  We are now visiting our congress people and contacting the Obama transition team.  Much of the work is done in Washington but we at home can play a major role as well.

Congress people come from where we live and work.  They have offices in our states.  They travel our highways.  They have many opportunities to come in contact with us in our facilities.  Our best resource to preserve, protect and promote the value of our program is ourselves. 

So, to answer the question, “What CAN be the Future of Randolph-Sheppard”?  The answer is still NO ONE KNOWS!  We must work together and do our jobs to the best of our ability. We must encourage our State Licensing Agencies to pursue new and better opportunities; by doing this, the State Agencies can demonstrate confidence in our abilities and dedicate themselves to program growth. It can go a long way toward cementing the future of our program.  There will be obstacles we can’t control, but with dedication and a little luck the next generation of young blind people should have a chance to continue our success. 
Happy Holidays and I will see you at “Sagebrush”.


Website Maintained by Farmer Host

Contact Webmaster at

Copyright © 2024 Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of America® All Rights Reserved

Randolph Sheppard Vendors of America®
940 Parc Helene Drive Marrero, LA 70072
Email: Website: