accessible vehicle

ACS unveils new accessible vehicle



By Ron Giofu


Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) has received its long-awaited new accessible vehicle and unveiled it last Tuesday afternoon.

The non-profit agency, which has had to go much of the year shorthanded in the vehicle department, debuted its new vehicle at a media event at JFA, located at the corner of Alma St. and Renaud Dr. The new accessible vehicle has room for eight passengers and two wheelchairs and cost nearly $80,000, with approximately $57,000 of that covered by Concours Mold Inc. and the Goggin family.

“We are grateful to Concours Mold, the Goggin family and all of those who donated,” said Kathy DiBartolomeo, executive director with ACS.

DiBartolomeo said 2018 started on a difficult note for ACS as they had to take vehicles off the road due to their age and the condition of the vehicles.

“Now, it’s ending on a high note,” said DiBartolomeo.

The new accessible vehicle, coupled with a recent donation of a van thanks to a group of car dealerships and realtors, has brought the ACS vehicle fleet back to where they want it.

The new accessible vehicle will help seniors and those with mobility issues get to appointments locally or in Windsor with DiBartolomeo noting that arrangements can be made to accommodate a caregiver as well. The vehicle is now in service and members of the public who need it can call 519-736-5471 for information or to book a ride.

“This vehicle will allow us to run with greater efficiency,” said DiBartolomeo.

Amherstburg Community Services unveiled its new accessible vehicle Nov. 27. The vehicle was purchased with help from donations, including a combined $57,000 from the Goggin family and Concours Mold. From left: Concours deputy chief financial officer (CFO) Kenny Goggin, ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo, Concours corporate HR manager Tiffany Huson and Concours marketing specialist Jmar Eduarte.

Kenny Goggin, deputy chief financial officer (CFO) with Concours Mold Inc., said it will be exciting to watch the accessible vehicle drive around Amherstburg and the surrounding area knowing that people are using it and having a better quality of life.

“It will be exciting to see it driving down the road helping people who don’t have use of transportation as freely,” he stated.

Goggin recalled getting a number of messages earlier in the year about the vehicles, noting that one was from a daughter of a Concours employee that dropped out of school after ACS’s student shuttle was temporarily taken off the road.

“When it was announced the bus was coming, she was extremely excited to go back to school,” said Goggin.

Two seniors who use ACS’ transportation services were thrilled with the unveiling of the new vehicle.

“I think this is just wonderful what these people have done for us,” said June Fox. “I’m 92-years-old and I’m proud of it. This organization is just wonderful, and I can always depend on them.”

“I’m just grateful for these people,” added Carolyn Belisle. “I use (ACS’ transportation services) often. I don’t know where I would be without it.”

For further information on ACS, call them or visit their office at 179 Victoria St. S. People can also get information on their transportation service or any of the other services ACS offers, visit

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) holds another successful “Wine ‘n’ Hop”



By Ron Giofu


Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) is continuing to raise funds for a new accessible bus and a large group of wine lovers helped the cause.

ACS held its latest “Wine ‘n’ Hop” last Wednesday night with a sold out crowd of 100 people stopping by the four restaurants before meeting back at the fifth stop – Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 – where a silent auction and prizes were awarded.

The four restaurants involved included the Dalhousie Bistro, Rosa’s, Barrel 67 and the Artisan Grill. Those who bought tickets were divided into teams which toured the restaurants before coming back to the Legion.

“It was great,” said ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo. “The event is selling out faster each time. I’m just very pleased with the turnout. I’m overwhelmed with the support we receive.”

ACS is trying to raise $75,000 towards a new vehicle and the proceeds from the “Wine ‘n’ Hop” is just one of the ways the non-profit agency is coming up with the money.

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) held its spring “Wine ‘n’ Hop” May 9. A sold out crowd of 100 people attended, with proceeds going to ACS’ accessible vehicle campaign. Five restaurants and Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 were part of the event. (Submitted photos)

DiBartolomeo said they are actively trying to meet the challenge put forth by Concours Mold Inc. where Concours would contribute $25,000 towards a new accessible bus if the community can raise the other $50,000.

With the proceeds from the most recent “Wine ‘n’ Hop,” ACS has raised around $20,000.

Austin Tyrrell, community awareness and fundraising co-ordinator with ACS, said they received “tremendous support from the community.” Tyrrell pointed out the “Wine ‘n’ Hop held last Wednesday night even saw a couple from Chatham attend.

“It’s a great way for people to experience Amherstburg,” added DiBartolomeo. “It’s a good way to experience Amherstburg restaurants while supporting a good cause.”

Tyrrell said they thank their sponsors, which include John D’Alimonte & Kim Wheeler of Re/Max Preferred Realtors, Dollars and Cents Investments Inc., Tech IT Easy, and the vehicle sponsor Thrasher Sales and Leasing, who helped provide free rides home.

ACS is leaving the door open for the event to possibly get bigger at some point in the future.

“We’re hoping to expand it,” said DiBartolomeo.

To keep up with the fundraisers Amherstburg Community Services is planning, or to learn more about opportunities to give, people are encouraged to contact ACS at 519-736-5471, visit and follow their social media pages including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Donations can also be dropped off at Amherstburg Community Services’ office, located at 179 Victoria St. S. in Amherstburg.

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

Area business challenges community after $25,000 pledge for accessible bus



By Ron Giofu


Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) is continuing to fundraise for a new accessible vehicle and an area company wants to help the cause.

ACS is working to fundraise $75,000 for an accessible vehicle and Concours Mold Inc. has pledged $25,000 toward ACS’ goal. According to Kenny Goggin, an Amherstburg resident and deputy chief financial officer of Concours Mold Inc., this commitment comes as a challenge to other businesses and residents.

“We have such a generous community here in Amherstburg, but these are the kinds of challenges we need to stand up to face together,” Goggin said. “That’s why we’re issuing a challenge to othesr to come together in any way they can afford and help ACS reach their goal.”

Goggin and Concours Mold’s marketing director Jmar Eduarte met ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo about six weeks ago and the idea blossomed from there.

“She was telling us about the bus and that they were looking for sponsors,” said Goggin. “She needs $75,000 and we’re pledging $25,000 with the condition that the community steps up and contributes the other $50,000.”

There are many in the tool and die industry from Amherstburg and Eduarte pointed out it is also a challenge to those in the business to contribute as well

“Times are good in the tool and die industry,” said Goggin.

Noting their Amherstburg roots and the fact many of Concours’ employees also live in town, Goggin indicated it is a good time to give back.

Concours Mold is challenging other businesses and individuals in the area to donate to ACS’ fundraising campaign for a new accessible bus. The company pledged $25,000 last week. From left: Amherstburg
resident and Concours Mold deputy chief financial officer Kenny Goggin, ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo and Concours marketing director Jmar Eduarte.

“We want to make sure this gets done for the people of our town,” he said.

DiBartolomeo, says this commitment helps take a big chunk out of what they need to raise, but thinks there is still lots of work to be done.

“This is a phenomenal way to get the ball rolling but we’re not done yet,” said DiBartolomeo. “We still have a ways to go, but we’re confident that Amherstburg residents and businesses will do their part like they always do.”

After hosting a month long 50/50 draw and their annual SOUPer Wednesday event, as well as receiving several anonymous donations, ACS has raised over $7,000 to date, not including the $25,000 committed by Concours Mold Inc. Their goal is to raise $75,000 by the end of June and have planned several fundraisers to help them reach that goal.

DiBartolomeo said keeping their vehicles on the road can be a challenge. One of them had to be removed, which necessitated the fundraising campaign.

“The needs of the community are constantly there but the replacement dollars aren’t,” she said. “We hope others in the community step up.”

Bringing people to medical appointments and day-away programs is a service that is needed, she continued, adding that ACS also wants to avoid having seniors becoming isolated. Having accessible transportation can keep people in their homes longer and allows them to preserve their dignity, she said.

The fundraising campaign is also serving as a way to raise awareness of the many services ACS offers, DiBartolomeo added.

To keep up with the fundraisers Amherstburg Community Services is planning, or to learn more about opportunities to give, people are encouraged to contact ACS at 519-736-5471, visit and follow their social media pages including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Donations can also be dropped off at their office, located at 179 Victoria St. S. in Amherstburg.

“SOUPer Wednesday” feeds public, ACS’ accessible vehicle fund



By Ron Giofu


Thirteen participants from Amherstburg, LaSalle, McGregor and Harrow went head-to-head last Wednesday to see who had the best soup.

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) held its fourth annual “SOUPer” Wednesday fundraiser at the Columbus Community Hall with Seasons Amherstburg and their mushroom chowder emerging as this year’s winner.

A total of 184 people attended this year’s “SOUPer Wednesday” with over $4,000 raised. The non-profit agency says that is a record amount.

That dollar figure also includes ACS’ $1,370 share from the 50/50 draw.

“People have been very enthusiastic,” said ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo. “The weather has been co-operated. It’s great soup-eating weather. The restaurants have been fantastic once again.”

DiBartolomeo said people get excited for the event every year.

“Every year, the restaurants provide their wonderful soups,” she said. “Our guests are just anxious to try it. I think it’s almost becoming a bit of a tradition for some. We saw lots of faces there who have been at every ‘SOUPer Wednesday’ since its inception and that really says something.”

Seasons Amherstburg won the fourth annual “SOUP-er Wednesday” fundraising event held last Wednesday at the Columbus Community Hall. It was presented by Amherstburg Community Services (ACS). From left: Beau Velduis and Heather Vandenham from Seasons Amherstburg and ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

Word-of-mouth is spreading, she added, and new people are also starting to come to the event. It is also “a great social event” because people get to talk, re-connect and visit with one another.

“This year is special because we are putting out the call for our new accessible vehicle,” said DiBartolomeo.

ACS had to pull one of its accessible buses off the road and is actively fundraising and seeking donations for a new one.

Other participants and their soups included Armando’s Amherstburg and their chicken tortilla soup, the Artisan Grill and their lobster bisque, the Beacon Ale House and their potato dill soup, the Dalhousie Bistro and their roasted winter vegetable,, Gilligan’s Fire Grill in Amherstburg and their cheeseburger soup, the Knights of Columbus and their chicken vegetable, Dock 21 and their potato bacon cabbage, LA Town Grill and their roasted red pepper, Maria’s and their beefy tomato macaroni, Smashed Apple Catering and Takeout with their curry chicken, Speck’s and their cabbage roll soup and the 19th Hole at Wildwood with their turkey dumpling soup.

David Languedoc from The Dalhousie Bistro dishes out some of his roasted winter vegetable soup during “SOUPer Wednesday.”

ACS’ Meals on Wheels kitchen also offered their Italian ravioli soup but that wasn’t an official entry and could not be voted on.

“Every year, this event gets bigger and better,” said DiBartolomeo. “It gives the chefs a chance to talk directly to their clients about their soups.”

One of those chefs was Beau Velduis from Seasons. He said it was their first time in the competition.

“We’re just happy to be part of the event,” he said. “There were a lot of fantastic soups. I don’t know how we were selected. We’ll be back next year.”

Artisan Grill owner Matthew Johnston said he likes being a part of the “SOUPer Wednesday event.

“As a restaurant owner, I look forward to it every year,” said Johnston. “Not once have I tried a soup that wasn’t amazing. It’s great fun and a great cause and I would always want to be involved in it.”

Phil Medler, one of those who attended, said that he is already excited for next year’s event.

Chloe DiPasquale and Lindsay Wandeloski from Gilligan’s Fire Grill dish out cheeseburger soup.

“This year, everything was excellent,” said Medler. “The variety of was really good and it was really hard to pick my favourite soup. This was my second year here and I certainly plan on coming back next year.”

The ACS “SOUPer Wednesday” takes place every February. This year’s event will see all funds go towards the purchase of a new accessible vehicle. It was sponsored by John D’Alimonte and Kim Wheeler RE/MAX Preferred Realty, Seasons Amherstburg, Dollars and Cents Investments Inc., and Tino’s Auto Service.

ACS’ next event will be the Spring Wine ‘n Hop, scheduled for May 9.

For more information on the services ACS offers or to make a donation towards the accessible vehicle, call 517-736-5471, visit their office at 179 Victoria St. S. or check out their website at