Amherstburg Community Services celebrates 45th anniversary

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) has reached a milestone.

The local independent not-for-profit agency is celebrating its 45th anniversary. ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo said the agency was founded in 1973 and incorporated in 1976.

“It was founded by a group of local people who were concerned with seniors and their nutritional needs,” said DiBartolomeo. “Forty-five years later, we now have over 20 services for the community and we’ve expanded into four different communities.”

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo (third from left) cuts the cake as she is surrounded by staff last Friday afternoon. ACS is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year.

Residents in Amherstburg, Harrow, LaSalle and McGregor can utilize such services as Meals on Wheels, Teen Health Counselling, Friendly Visiting for Seniors, Security Reassurance, Friendly Social Seniors, Youth Recreation Subsidies, Coats for Kids, free hearing tests, CareLink Health Transit, Keep the Heat, income tax clinics, medical footcare, a Legal Aid Lawyer, credit counselling, Hiatus House, OESP intake, the Sexual Assault Crisis Centre, Stuff-a-Stocking for Seniors, Service Canada, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

Over the past year, there were 16,625 meals delivered, 5,852 CareLink rides provided, 611 reassurance calls, 289 Friendly Visits, 272 tax clinics, 387 stockings delivered to seniors at Christmas, 26 families given winter coats through Coats for Kids and 63,460 given to subsidize recreation fees. They are currently accepting donations for a new accessible van and people can donate by their office or online through www.amherstburg-cs.com.

They also team up with local agencies and organizations, with two such examples being partnering with the Amherstburg Fire Department and the Rotary Club of Amherstburg on a carbon monoxide alarm project for residents in need and partnering with Mealtime Express and the Amherstburg Police Department for a Secret Santa toy drive.

ACS also teamed with the Town of Amherstburg recently for the first ever Active & Aging Well Expo.

For many years, ACS had services under multiple roofs at the same time however they have been able to amalgamate all of their services at one location. Their office is currently located at 179 Victoria St. S. in Amherstburg.

ACS has over 100 volunteers, DiBartolomeo stated, and while they are always welcome to new partnerships and programming, funding is a constant challenge.

A ribbon cutting is pictured as part of an open house that occurred when ACS was located in the Teeter Building, at the corner of Sandwich and Gore. (Submitted photo)

“We rely heavily on the support of the community through fundraisers and donations,” she said.

That said, Amherstburg Community Services is looking forward to the future.

“Moving forward, we are looking at some exciting changes,” she said. “As the community’s needs change, so have we. We change our mission to keep up with the demands. We’re excited to continue to grow, expand and bring on new programming to meet the challenges of our community.”

 

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