Secret Santa Benefit Dinner raises $12,216



By Christian Bouchard


Mealtime Express is full steam ahead to bring smiles to local children.

The tenth Secret Santa Benefit Dinner was held Sunday at the Sandwich St. S. restaurant. The public responded well as tickets to the event were sold out in two weeks.

The local restaurant partnered with Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and the Amherstburg Police Service to help local kids for Christmas.

Norm Mickle, who owns the restaurant with his wife Janet, said before the first of the four dinners served, they raised around $7,200. The total, as of Monday morning, was $12,216.

“The beauty of it is that it changes peoples lives,” said Mickle. “We’ve had people that we’ve done this for years ago that have shown up here with a cheque to donate to the Secret Santa program. It’s an amazing circle of life that happens here.”

Mealtime Express raised $12,216 at Sunday evening’s Secret Santa Benefit Dinner. A “Secret Santa” program is being run by the local restaurant in conjunction with Amherstburg Community Services and the Amherstburg Police Service.

With the partnership with ACS, families will then get a phone call asking what their child wants for Christmas. From there, a group of people go out to do the shopping and buy what the kids want for Christmas. Once the gifts are all bought, the Amherstburg Police Service gets involved to make sure the gifts get delivered.

“Now it’s become a community event,” said Mickle. “You would not believe the people and local businesses that have shown up and given us stuff that we can raffle off. All the money goes straight to the kids. We don’t take a dime.”

According to Mickle, in the 10 years of hosting the dinner, there have been over 3,000 gifts bought and over 250 people looked after, all locally. He called the partnership with ACS and APS “the perfect marriage” and said how humbled he is to be able to leave smiles on kids faces.

“It gives us an opportunity to give back to the community that’s taken care of us for so long,” added Mickle. “It’s a win-win-win-win situation for everyone involved.”

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