ACS

ACS to get new accessible vehicle thanks to local family

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) will be re-adding an accessible vehicle to its fleet thanks to a local family and an area company.

The Goggin family of Amherstburg donated $32,000 to ACS’ accessible vehicle fundraising campaign. That money, on top of the $18,000 raised by ACS, brought the total to $50,000 and by reaching that amount, it triggered the Concours Mold Challenge.

Concours Mold Inc. pledged to donate $25,000 if the community could raise the first $50,000 towards a new $75,000 accessible vehicle.

Kenny Goggin, deputy chief financial officer (CFO) with Concours Mold Inc., stated that when the company heard that ACS had to take a vehicle off the road due to maintenance issues, they issued the challenge to bring the community together and fundraise for a new accessible vehicle. A second vehicle had to be removed from the road earlier this summer.

“(ACS executive director) Kathy (DiBartolomeo) and the team do a great job,” said Kenny. “Amherstburg really came together.”

Kenny said that his family wanted to make the large donation to trigger the challenge after learning of news reports that pointed out that the St. Clair College student shuttle wouldn’t be offered for the fall semester by ACS due to a shortage of vehicles. The service will be able to be restored thanks to the new vehicle.

Goggin credited his mother Joanne for the family’s donation. In a statement, Joanne Goggin said the family – which also consists of Mark, Dennis and Jmar as well as Kenny and herself – hope to see their donation inspire others in the community to support the services ACS provides.

“When we saw that ACS was having difficulty raising funds for the new van and heard the story about (another vehicle) breaking down, we knew we wanted to commit personally to completing this purchase,” Joanne stated. “This is a fantastic organization which has benefitted the senior community but many other groups in Amherstburg as well; we want these programs to flourish. Hopefully, our gift will inspire others to donate personally to continue the services ACS operates in this beautiful community we call home.”

Kenny said a number of employees at their Lakeshore plant come from Amherstburg, adding he was raised on Texas Road.

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) will be able to purchase a new accessible vehicle thanks to the Goggin family and Concours Mold Inc. The Goggin family donated $32,000, which brought the fundraising total to $50,000. By reaching $50,000, Concours Mold Inc. donated the remaining $25,000 necessary to purchase the new vehicle. ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo accepts the $25,000 cheque from Concours’ deputy chief finanical officer Kenny Goggin (left) and marketing director Jmar Eduarte (right).

“We have employees whose children use the service,” he added.

Agreeing with his mother, Kenny stated that ACS has a lot of excellent services to help the communities they operate in and they hope to shine a light on them.

“I think more importantly is the work Kathy and her team do that goes unnoticed,” he said. “My family made sure these types of programs are highlighted.”

DiBartolomeo called the donations by both the Goggin family and Concours Mold Inc. “unbelievable” and said ACS is very grateful for them.

“I’m not sure words can describe just how important this is to us and to the rest of the community,” DiBartolomeo said. “So many people rely on our services to stay mobile, and those are the people this fundraising campaign has been for. On behalf of them and everyone else this donation will affect, thank you so much.”

ACS will be able to not only restore programming, but expand it as well, DiBartolomeo indicated. She said ACS will soon start recruiting volunteers to help those they help transport with getting on and off the bus and to help with such things as grocery shopping or helping out at medical appointments.

The new accessible vehicle will be able to transport ten walk-on travellers or two wheelchairs and six walk-on travellers. They are in the process of ordering the vehicle and hope to have it within three to six months.

Further announcements are expected in the coming weeks regarding the restoration of programming, such as the student shuttle.

“A very big thank you to Concours Mold Inc. and the Goggin family,” she emphasized.

People are still welcome to donate towards vehicle maintenance or any other program ACS offers, DiBartolomeo added.

“Although the challenge has been met, and we’re grateful for that, vehicle repairs and maintenance are always an issue for us,” she said. “It’s a priority we don’t let this (vehicle shortage) happen again.”

Amherstburg Community Services has provided accessible transportation services to seniors and other adults who qualify since 1989.  They began fundraising for this vehicle that the order went in for in February this year after one of their vehicles was deemed unsafe and removed from their fleet, with the second accessible vehicle being taken off the road in July.

For more information on ACS or to donate, visit their office at 179 Victoria St. S. or call 519-736-5471. Their website is www.amhertburg-cs.com. To “like” them on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/AmherstburgCS and to follow them on Twitter, visit www.twitter.com/ACSAmherstburg.

 

ACS partnering with town to host public meeting for seniors Aug. 16

 

Amherstburg Community Services has once again partnered with the Town of Amherstburg’s Recreation Services Department to support seniors living in the municipality.

On Aug. 16, the two organizations will host a town hall meeting to consult seniors, caregivers and concerned citizens on changes they would like to see to support healthy aging in Amherstburg.  ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo is excited for the input from the community and hoping to see a large turn-out.

“We think there are plenty of amazing ideas just waiting to be heard,” DiBartolomeo said.  “We know the statistics and we know that a huge part of our population is made up of older adults.  As a community, we need to adapt to these changes and it’s only right that this part of the population has their say.”

The town hall meeting will provide an opportunity for residents to voice their concerns and share ideas on how to make Amherstburg a more welcoming place for older adults.  The feedback from this event will help plan and implement new programs and services for Amherstburg seniors.

Information on resources and programs currently available for seniors living in the area will also be shared with those who attend.  The meeting will take place at the Libro Credit Union Centre’s community room at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 16.

Registration is not required, however people looking for more information are asked to contact Amherstburg Community Services at 519-736-5471.

This event follows a similar consultation with organizations, business owners and community leaders that took place in December last year.

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.”

 

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) collecting donations for Fill-A-Backpack campaign

 

 

Special to the RTT

 

While children enjoy their summer holidays, one local organization has started working on a campaign to get school supplies to students who need them.

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) will start their Fill-a-Backpack Campaign on July 16 which aims to collect new and gently used school supplies to support low-income children.

According to the executive director at ACS, Kathy DiBartolomeo, the project is a benefit to the entire community.

“It’s a program that I believe everyone can get behind,” DiBartolomeo said. “Every child should be able to go in on the first day of school prepared with everything they need to learn and succeed.  When you help us fill a backpack, you’re helping a child in your community become the best they can be.”

Having offered the program for five years previously, Amherstburg Community Services was unable to provide it in 2017.  This year though, the local non-profit agency has committed to bringing the program back to support Amherstburg families and children.

People interested in supporting the program can donate new or used school supplies at ACS at 179 Victoria St S.  Monetary donations are also being accepted at the same location or on their website at www.amherstburg-cs.com/make-a-personal-donation.

School supplies will be distributed from August 13 to August 17, with more details on that to come.

Anyone looking for information on if they qualify to receive school supplies should contact ACS at 519-736-5471.

 

ACS continues to fundraise for accessible vehicle, forced to cancel St. Clair College shuttle service next semester

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) has been forced to cancel its St. Clair College student shuttle service due to a vehicle shortage.

ACS continues to fundraise for a new accessible CareLink bus after having to take an older vehicle off of the road and that has caused the shortage. The lack of a second vehicle is taking its toll on the services ACS can provide and that includes the student shuttle service.

“As bad as that sounds, if we can’t safely transport people, we won’t,” said Austin Tyrrell, ACS community awareness and fundraising coordinator.

ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo said the not-for-profit agency continues to be grateful for the support of Concours Mold, as the company will pledge $25,000 towards the new $75,000 vehicle if the community can raise the other $50,000. The campaign is known as “The Concours Mold Challenge.”

Thus far, ACS has raised $17,500.

DiBartolomeo noted there is an aging population and that means more and more people need to go to Windsor for medical appointments. Younger people sometimes need help getting to appointments as well, she added, noting there are “day away” programs that members of the public sometimes have an issue getting to.

Concours Mold is challenging other businesses and individuals in the area to donate to ACS’ fundraising campaign for a new accessible bus. From left: Amherstburg
resident and Concours Mold deputy chief financial officer Kenny Goggin, ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo and Concours marketing director Jmar Eduarte. In the meantime, ACS has been forced to cancel

“We need to keep up with the demand and the demand is growing,” said DiBartolomeo.

The charge to use Amherstburg Community Services’ accessible vehicle is $18 round trip, which DiBartolomeo said is much cheaper than some other services that can range into the hundreds of dollars.

“If people have to call an external service to get (to a medical appointment), it can be up to $400,” she said.

Tyrrell said ACS is doing more fundraisers, with one coming up in August at Meloche’s No Frills. Staff and volunteers will be holding a barbecue and bagging groceries, he said.

There is also another Wine ‘N’ Hop fundraiser planned for the fall, Tyrrell added.

More information will be coming on the fundraisers in the coming weeks and Tyrrell urged people to follow them on their Facebook and Twitter sites.

“We do appreciate any donation,” said DiBartolomeo.

“If every household in Amherstburg donated $5, we’d pretty much reach our goal instantly,” said Tyrrell. “Every donation counts.”

Tyrrell stated that one client has even told them if they didn’t have the accessible vehicle CareLink service, she would never get out of the house.

For more information or to make a donation, call 519-736-5471 or visit www.amherstburg-cs.com/the-concours-mold-challenge. People can also donate directly at Amherstburg Community Services’ office, which is located at 179 Victoria St. S.