Amherstburg Community Services

ACS, town happy with first-ever Active & Aging Well Expo



By Ron Giofu


Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) teamed with the town’s recreation services department with seniors being the focus.

The first-ever Active & Aging Well Expo was presented last Monday and Tuesday at the Libro Centre with over 40 vendors, cooking demonstrations, financial presentations and other presenters giving senior citizens a chance to see what is out there.

“I think as far as a first year, I’m pleased,” said ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo. “I’m hearing a lot of good feedback from attendees.”

“I think vendors are pleased with the set up and how they were treated,” added Rick Daly, manager of recreation services with the town.

Lou Cote (left) demonstrates pole walking with
ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

DiBartolomeo said it was an opportunity for businesses and service providers to not only show what is out there for seniors, but a chance to network amongst themselves as well. Seniors were also able to learn about some volunteer opportunities in the area.

“I think the main goal is to show how they can stay active,” she said.

Daly said many seniors were able to have issues and concerns addressed.

“If there are questions that older adults have, they were answered for them,” he said.

A Taoist tai chi demonstration was held last Tuesday afternoon as part of the Active & Aging Well Expo presented by Amherstburg Community Services and the Town of Amherstburg.

A variety of exhibitors and interactive demonstrations left a big impression on attendees of the first-ever Active & Aging Well Expo.  The event had attendees like Carol Hrycay glad they took the time to see what all the fuss was about.

“It was the best five bucks I ever spent,” Hrycay said of the event. “I was very surprised to see so many vendors with such diversity yet still all focused on seniors. It really hit home just how much is available to people like me.”

In addition to the cooking classes provided by Matthew Johnston, the owner of Amherstburg’s Artisan Grill, and Beau Velduis, the executive chef at Seasons Retirement Communities in Amherstburg, attendees were given the chance to try activities like Taoist tai chi, pickle ball and pole walking.

DiBartolomeo stated the chance to try something new was what left a real impression on the event-goers.

“We look at this event as a chance to really change the discussion around aging,” DiBartolomeo said.  “Age isn’t just a number – it’s an opportunity to experience new things and this event helped people do just that.”

Plans are already being formulated for 2019, she added.

Over 40 vendors took part in the first Active & Aging Well Expo (AAWE) held last Monday and tuesday at the Libro Centre. The event was held in partnership with Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and the Town of Amherstburg. (Submitted photo)

“We’re getting some feedback from vendors on what they like and what is important for next year,” stated Daly.

Daly added ACS will be an even more important service going forward as the population is aging and there are a number of services offered by ACS that can help.

The Active & Aging Well Expo brought vendors from across Windsor and Essex County to allow older adults, seniors and caregivers a chance to discover services, activities and programs specifically for them, all in one place.  Admission was $5 and included a lunch and access to all vendors and demonstrations.


—With information provided by Austin Tyrrell, community awareness/fundraising coordinator with ACS

Amherstburg Community Services thanks volunteers at annual appreciation dinner



By Ron Giofu


Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) thanked their volunteers and did so with a western flare.

ACS held its annual volunteer appreciation dinner last Wednesday evening at the AMA Sportsmen Association with the event featuring everything from a barbecue meal to people dressed in western attire. There were also horse and carriage rides as well.

ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo noted the non-profit agency is in its 45th year, with providing meals being one of the early focuses.

Staff from Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) hold up letters spelling the words “Thank You” at last Wednesday night’s volunteer appreciation dinner at the AMA Sportsmen Association. ACS honoured their 132 volunteers with a dinner that had a western theme this year.

“Without the volunteers and original acts of kindness, we wouldn’t be here today,” said DiBartolomeo.

Meals on Wheels is now just one of the current services, with another 21 services also provided out of their Victoria St. S. office. ACS also provides services to Harrow, McGregor and LaSalle, she added.

ACS has 132 volunteers, DiBartolomeo noted, and she said all volunteers and every community play an important role.

“Volunteers not only play an important role in communities large and small, they are a necessity,” she said.

DiBartolomeo added that volunteers are “a special breed of people” and that ACS has developed a number of partnerships with other groups and organizations in the area. She said the agency can look back proudly on what it has accomplished.

“We are looking to the future with excitement,” she stated.

Terri Barrette, president of ACS’ board of directors, offered gratitude for the work of the volunteers. She referenced “Wanted” posters given the evening’s western theme when she pointed out there are so many wants and needs in the community.

Jim Cryowski was one of the ACS volunteers that helped barbecue the dinner at last Wednesday’s volunteer appreciation night at the AMA Sportsmen Association.

Volunteers give of their time and brighten the lives of people they help but Barrette added they are often another person’s “saving grace” and an inspiration to others.

“We tip our hats to all of you,” said Barrette.

Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo brought greetings, saying the thanks he was giving was miniscule compared to the volunteer time that people give.

“Know that your service does not go unnoticed or unappreciated,” said DiCarlo. “Amherstburg’s success is defined by you and for that we are eternally grateful.”

DiCarlo stated the Amherstburg is known for its volunteers.

“This is one of the few opportunities I have to let them know what difference they make in our community,” he said.

Sarah Parks from Sarah Parks Horsemanship (left) and Michelle Stein from Firehorse Leadership Organization (right) helped give Amherstburg Community Services’ volunteer appreciation dinner a western flare by bringing their horses. Gerald Lemire was one of the volunteers who stopped by to say hello.

LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya said ACS’ volunteer appreciation dinner is an “annual event I love coming to.” Antaya has been a volunteer himself, often as a Meals on Wheels driver.

“The service you provide is incredible,” said Antaya. “You are assuring people they haven’t been forgotten.”

Antaya added he has been proud to be a Meals on Wheels driver and said they often are the only people some clients may see in an average day.

For more information about ACS and the services the agency provides, visit their office at 179 Victoria St. S. or call 519-736-5471. Their website is

Amherstburg Community Services partnering with town to deliver two-day Seniors Expo



Special to the RTT


Dozens of organizations, businesses and individuals will be making their way out to Amherstburg June 11-12 to help seniors in the region discover services, resources and activities specifically designed for them.

The 2018 Active & Aging Well Expo, hosted and organized by Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and the Town of Amherstburg, is described as “a one-stop shop for everything from home health care to yoga demonstrations curated specifically for seniors, older adults and caregivers.”

“We really wanted to appeal to as many people as we could,” Kathy DiBartolomeo, executive director at ACS said. “We all age differently and find ourselves with a variety of different needs.  Some of us are looking for activities and hobbies to keep us busy, others will be looking for services that provide support for a specific need.  We’re excited that this event will cover all of that and more!”

Rick Daly, the manager of recreation Services with the Town of Amherstburg, says he is excited by the responses seen by businesses that have been invited to take part in the event.

“Amherstburg’s population is getting older. It only makes sense that we offer programming, activities and events that cater to our older adult population,” Daly said. “With the response that Amherstburg Community Services is getting, the Expo looks to become an annual event that will educate and entertain our seniors on the many activities and services offered in our town.”

The 2018 Active & Aging Well Expo will take place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both June 11-12 at the Libro Credit Union Centre in Amherstburg.

Over 35 different vendors will be at the event, with demonstrations and presentations taking place throughout the day.  Admission will be $5 at the door and will include a boxed lunch and access to various raffle prizes.

For more information, please contact Amherstburg Community Services at 519-736-5471.


ACS gets boost in accessible vehicle fundraising campaign



Amherstburg Community Services got another boost in their attempt to raise $75,000 for the purchase of a new accessible vehicle.

They were presented with two cheques, one from the Kinsmen Club of Harrow for the amount of $1,500, and another from Maria’s Restaurant, who donated the $211.40 they won at a recent Knights of Columbus Chili Cook-off.

“This puts us that one step closer to our target,” Kathy DiBartolomeo, executive director at Amherstburg Community Services said.  “It’s so encouraging to see people step forward like this to really make a difference for individuals who rely on our transportation service.”

According to Tim Olson, the president of the Harrow Kinsmen Club, the impact of the service goes well beyond the individuals who use it.

Harrow Kinsmen Club members and Kirk Churchill and Tim Olson present a $1,500 cheque to ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo. ACS will use the money for its accessible van fund. (Special to the RTT)

“It’s [the ACS CareLink Health Transit] so important – it really helps take a burden off the families and loved ones of the people who need it,” Olson said.  “There isn’t a Kinsmen Club in Amherstburg, but with how close our communities are, we felt we could step up and help out something that really deserves the support.”

Kirk Churchill, a director at the Harrow Kinsmen Club and a co-owner of Maria’s Restaurant agreed and highlighted the need for community members to come together to help ACS reach its goal.

“We won this money while participating in a community event, and we felt it was the right thing to do to put that money back into the community,” Churchill said. “Truly, we hope more people see this and that it encourages them to do what they can to help ACS.”

Maria’s Restaurant co-owners Natalie Borrelli and Kirk Churchill donated the $211.40 they won in the recent Charity Chili Cookoff to ACS executive director Kathy DiBartomeo. (Special to the RTT)

These donations bring the total raised so far to just over $10,000. They have also received a commitment of $25,000 from Concours Mold Inc. on the condition that they first raise the remaining $50,000.  Donations can be made in person at 179 Victoria St S, Amherstburg, ON, with cash or cheques, or online using a credit card at

ACS has provided accessible transportation in Amherstburg since 1974.


—Contributed by Austin Tyrrell, Amherstburg Community Services

ACS teaming with town’s recreation department on “Seniors’ Expo”


By Ron Giofu


Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) is teaming with the town’s recreation services department to bring a “Seniors’ Expo” to town this spring.

The Seniors Expo will be at the Libro Centre June 11-12 and ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo said they are presenting the event due to Amherstburg’s population getting older. Currently, 18.1 per cent of Amherstburg residents are 65-and-over. When those 55-and-over are factored in, the senior population could increase to 25 per cent in five years, she noted.

“This is our first year doing it,” explained DiBartolomeo. “We’re partnering with the Town of Amherstburg. We’re hoping to showcase services that are in Amherstburg and Essex County. There’s many different services. We’re looking to promote Amherstburg and Essex County.”

According to a letter sent out by DiBartolomeo and manager of recreation services Rick Daly, the expo is inviting vendors who may have products or services geared towards the over-55 population. Those could include retirement or assisted living facilities, barristers and solicitors, doctors, optometrists, wineries, sports clubs, barber shops or hair salons, education institutions, service organizations, insurance and financial services, hearing centres, pharmacies, dance and fitness facilities, clothing stores, beauty and nail salons, financial institutions, dental offices, medical therapy, museums and galleries, golf courses, health food stores and pet stores.

“People can visit the booths and talk to vendors one-on-one,” said DiBartolomeo.

They also aim to have pickleball demonstrations, cooking demonstrations and food sampling and guest speakers and presentations.

“We want seniors to see what is out there and know what is available to them,” said DiBartolomeo. “We’ve been approached by seniors looking for different services in the area.”

DiBartolomeo said they want seniors to “stay active, healthy and informed.”

For more information on the Seniors Expo, contact DiBartolomeo at 519-736-5471 or People can also contact Daly at 519-736-5712 ext. 2122 or

“We’re looking forward to it,” said DiBartolomeo.