ACS celebrates new location

 

By Joel Charron

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) officially cut the ribbon on their new location Friday afternoon.

ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo, along with staff and local dignitaries attended the ceremony at ACS’s new location at 179 Victoria St. S.

“It feels fantastic to finally have a home of our own,” said DiBartolomeo.

Amherstburg Community Services moved into their freshly renovated digs at the Amherstburg Recreation & Cultural Centre on Victoria St. in April.

Currently, there are 22 services that are run through ACS. There will also be space that could be rented out to groups, eight offices for staff and service providers and a boardroom. ACS programs service Amherstburg, Harrow, McGregor and LaSalle.

Moving everyone under one roof has financial benefits, stated DiBartolomeo, as they don’t have to pay two rents anymore. The former office location was on Sandwich St. S. while the Meals on Wheels kitchen was located on Simcoe St. The 4,000 square feet that encompassed two sites will now be all under one roof.

DiBartolomeo said being under one roof will not only be beneficial for its program but the staff as well, ACS has 12 staff members plus roughly 100 volunteers.

 

Amherstburg Community Services held a grand opening at its new location at 179 Victoria St. S. Friday afternoon . From left: Erie St. Clair LHIN board member Bob Bailey, Deputy Mayor Ron Sutherland, LHIN board member Frank Chalmers and ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

DiBartolomeo thanked the ACS board of directors on embarking on a 2 year journey, which “explored many options” before making their move to the new site a possibility.

She also thanked Mayor Wayne Hurst and town council for their support.

“We approached  council with our situation and not only did they offer us this building but assisted in the renovations, which was a precedent setting decision,” she said. “Their long term commitment to our agency validates the hard work we do.”

She stated the partnership between the town and ACS was “long over due but worth the wait.”

Deputy Mayor Ron Sutherland said ACS should be commended on beatification of the former recreation & cultural centre.

“It was nice when it was used as the senior center, however when Kathy gave us the tour I was really impressed,” said Sutherland. “I had no idea that they had done all this.”

Sutherland noted that ACS provides a “good service” to the town’s residents.

LaSalle mayor Ken Antaya, who is also involved with the LaSalle Meals on Wheels program as a spare volunteer, said he appreciates the services that Meals on Wheels have provided over the years.

Antaya said not only does the Meals on Wheels program provide nutritious meals to people but also a friendly face.

“I think we brighten their day. You may be the only person they see all day,” said Antaya. “It’s very rewarding and empowering. It’s something I enjoy doing.”

Bob Bailey, who sits on the board of directors for the Erie-St. Clair LHIN said everything that ACS does “fits in with what LHIN is trying to accomplish.”

“ACS is a valuable asset to this community,” said Bailey. “You’re providing office space to so many of the community agencies that the residents can connect with and the fact you brought Meals on Wheels under your roof, to me is the crowning jewel of what you’re trying to do.”

Since ACS has moved into their new location they have launched their Fill-A-Backpack campaign, a seniors group that meets once a week for lunch and socialize, grief counseling and have met with other agencies to put together a brochure that lists all of the services that are available to local residents during the time of need.

“ACS will continue to strive to meet the demands and needs of  local residents that are required to enhance and enrich their lives,” said DiBartolomeo.

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