Amherstburg Community Services partnering with town to deliver two-day Seniors Expo



Special to the RTT


Dozens of organizations, businesses and individuals will be making their way out to Amherstburg June 11-12 to help seniors in the region discover services, resources and activities specifically designed for them.

The 2018 Active & Aging Well Expo, hosted and organized by Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and the Town of Amherstburg, is described as “a one-stop shop for everything from home health care to yoga demonstrations curated specifically for seniors, older adults and caregivers.”

“We really wanted to appeal to as many people as we could,” Kathy DiBartolomeo, executive director at ACS said. “We all age differently and find ourselves with a variety of different needs.  Some of us are looking for activities and hobbies to keep us busy, others will be looking for services that provide support for a specific need.  We’re excited that this event will cover all of that and more!”

Rick Daly, the manager of recreation Services with the Town of Amherstburg, says he is excited by the responses seen by businesses that have been invited to take part in the event.

“Amherstburg’s population is getting older. It only makes sense that we offer programming, activities and events that cater to our older adult population,” Daly said. “With the response that Amherstburg Community Services is getting, the Expo looks to become an annual event that will educate and entertain our seniors on the many activities and services offered in our town.”

The 2018 Active & Aging Well Expo will take place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both June 11-12 at the Libro Credit Union Centre in Amherstburg.

Over 35 different vendors will be at the event, with demonstrations and presentations taking place throughout the day.  Admission will be $5 at the door and will include a boxed lunch and access to various raffle prizes.

For more information, please contact Amherstburg Community Services at 519-736-5471.


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

ACS teaming with town’s recreation department on “Seniors’ Expo”


By Ron Giofu


Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) is teaming with the town’s recreation services department to bring a “Seniors’ Expo” to town this spring.

The Seniors Expo will be at the Libro Centre June 11-12 and ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo said they are presenting the event due to Amherstburg’s population getting older. Currently, 18.1 per cent of Amherstburg residents are 65-and-over. When those 55-and-over are factored in, the senior population could increase to 25 per cent in five years, she noted.

“This is our first year doing it,” explained DiBartolomeo. “We’re partnering with the Town of Amherstburg. We’re hoping to showcase services that are in Amherstburg and Essex County. There’s many different services. We’re looking to promote Amherstburg and Essex County.”

According to a letter sent out by DiBartolomeo and manager of recreation services Rick Daly, the expo is inviting vendors who may have products or services geared towards the over-55 population. Those could include retirement or assisted living facilities, barristers and solicitors, doctors, optometrists, wineries, sports clubs, barber shops or hair salons, education institutions, service organizations, insurance and financial services, hearing centres, pharmacies, dance and fitness facilities, clothing stores, beauty and nail salons, financial institutions, dental offices, medical therapy, museums and galleries, golf courses, health food stores and pet stores.

“People can visit the booths and talk to vendors one-on-one,” said DiBartolomeo.

They also aim to have pickleball demonstrations, cooking demonstrations and food sampling and guest speakers and presentations.

“We want seniors to see what is out there and know what is available to them,” said DiBartolomeo. “We’ve been approached by seniors looking for different services in the area.”

DiBartolomeo said they want seniors to “stay active, healthy and informed.”

For more information on the Seniors Expo, contact DiBartolomeo at 519-736-5471 or People can also contact Daly at 519-736-5712 ext. 2122 or

“We’re looking forward to it,” said DiBartolomeo.

ACS participates in the “March for Meals” to highlight Meals on Wheels program



By Ron Giofu


Local dignitaries from Amherstburg and LaSalle helped Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) highlight the Meals on Wheels program last week.

Amherstburg fire chief Bruce Montone joined volunteers in Amherstburg while LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya joined police and fire officials and volunteers in LaSalle.

“This day is to bring awareness to the community of our Meals on Wheels program,” said ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

DiBartolomeo said the “March for Meals” highlights the fact that people are now able to live independently in their own homes longer. She also noted that Meals on Wheels does not have to be a long-term commitment for people, as it can also be used on a short-term basis for people recovering from surgery or those needing it for other reasons if only for a brief time.

Austin Tyrrell, fundraising co-ordinator and community awareness co-ordinator with ACS, said they want to educate the community on the service and the fact it is not only for older adults.

Amherstburg fire chief Bruce Montone holds three totes used for Meals on Wheels. At left is Amherstburg Community Services executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

Montone said the Amherstburg Fire Department gets involved as they use it as a way to get into homes and ensure people are safe. While visiting with Meals on Wheels clients, Montone also checked smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they were in proper working order.

“It’s sort of a natural fit between ACS and our organization,” said Montone. “It’s become a natural partnership.”

ACS helps provide people “the basics of life,” Montone continued, and the Amherstburg Fire Department helps by making sure the residents are safe. In addition to checking smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, they also take other fire safety measures by making sure there aren’t any combustibles near appliances and that clutter isn’t an issue.

Both DiBartolomeo and Montone state that the carbon monoxide detector program, initiated last year with the assistance of the Amherstburg Rotary Club, is still ongoing and that people can call the Amherstburg Fire Department at 519-736-6500 or ACS at 519-736-5471 if they know of people in need.

Debbie Vigneux serves up one of the meals served in the Meals on Wheels kitchen at ACS.

“This is a way to make sure family and friends are also protected,” said Montone. “We need to think of the most vulnerable all year long.”

The “March for Meals” also allows ACS to showcase their other services as well, with DiBartolomeo stating people can always contact their office to see what other services are available.

“They can always call and get more information,” said DiBartolomeo.

People can also drop by at 179 Victoria St. S. or visit

Local dignitaries helped participate in the “March for Meals” March 21. From left: Amherstburg Community Services executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo, Meals on Wheels volunteer Patricia Baker, Amherstburg fire chief Bruce Montone and Marlene Turkington.

Marlene Turkington, one of the Meals on Wheels clients visited last Wednesday morning, said she is impressed by not only Meals on Wheels, but the variety of programs ACS offers.

“I really think a lot of it,” she said. “There’s so many different things you can do.”

Turkington said she uses ACS for a number of different services. She also spoke highly of the volunteers that bring her food to her home for Meals on Wheels.

“The volunteers are very, very good,” she said. “It’s nice to have people checking up on you when they bring your food. You get some visitation as well.”