Amherstburg Food & Fellowship Mission

Amherstburg Food & Fellowship Mission gets WECF grant



By Ron Giofu


The Windsor-Essex Community Foundation (WECF) says it is “thrilled to announce that a total of $36,000 has been granted to six organizations to fund projects that will have a big impact in our community.”

The announcement took place WECF’s 159th meeting of the board of directors and 33rd annual general meeting and grant awards ceremony.

“The WECF is happy to support these local organizations and the many successful programs they provide in Windsor & Essex County,” said WECF executive director Lisa Kolody. “In addition to delivering much-needed funding, our Community Impact Grants serve as an opportunity for us to build viable partnerships in our community that will bring out the best Windsor/Essex has to offer.”

The organizations funded through the WECF Community Impact Grants include The Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission, Brentwood Charity House, The Canadian Mental Health Association of Windsor Essex County, The Royal Canadian Legion Metropolitan Branch 594, The Southwestern Ontario Gleaners and the Windsor Symphony Orchestra (WSO).

Windsor-Essex Community Foundation grants $36,000 in funding to six local organizations, one of which being the Amherstburg Food & Fellowship Mission. (Submitted photo)

The WECF states that it “views its fund holders as community builders and assists to match their interests and strengths with community needs. The WECF is proud of its rich history of community building in Windsor-Essex, and looks positively toward the future as it continues to grow and inspire philanthropy. The WECF is thankful for its donors, volunteers, and supporters who are all so passionate about its work.”

Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission board president Tim McAllister said they are working towards purchasing a new van.

“The board of directors has been working very hard for a long time to have enough money to replace our van,” said McAllister. “The van we are currently using is getting too old and is costing a lot of money to maintain in good working order. It will be more cost efficient to get a new one.”

McAllister said the mission has been trying to grow the van replacement account for a while now.

“We have been blessed with some anonymous financial support along with a much appreciated grant from the Windsor-Essex Community Foundation in the amount of $8,000,” he stated. “There were 40 charities applying for a portion of this grant and we were one of the six chosen!”

Winter maintenance on the mission’s current van has been completed and McAllister said they will keep looking for more donations to add to the van replacement account. The Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission hopes to be in a position to purchase a new van by next spring.

The Windsor-Essex Community Foundation (WECF), originally founded in 1983 as Heritage Windsor, is a perpetual community trust for philanthropic purposes. It exists to manage donors’ legacy funds and make grants to support local community programs. Through grant making activities, the WECF is able to establish partnerships to assist a broad range of community organizations. To learn more about these programs and the ways they give back, visit

Area boating group presenting four events for charity



By Ron Giofu


An area boating group is holding four different events in the coming weeks with organizations in both Amherstburg and LaSalle to benefit from them.

Boat Spotters, a non-profit boating group based in LaSalle, will be holding four events over the summer with one in June, two in July and one in August. The group has over 1,300 members between LaSalle and Amherstburg. The four events they are hosting will benefit causes in those municipalities as well – the LaSalle Hang Out Youth Centre and the Amherstburg Food & Fellowship Mission.

Wendy Sutton, founder of Boat Spotters, said three of the four events are available to get to whether a person has a boat or not. She said everyone is welcome.

The first event is a pig roast and canned food drive being held at Ranta Marina June 23. Tickets are on sale now and are $30 for one and $50 for two. There will be two live bands – No Drama and 17 North – that will be entertaining the crowd. Overnight tent camping is permitted, said Sutton.

The second event will be at Beattie’s Sunset Marina in LaSalle July 21. In addition to the canned food drive, there will be a charity seafood broil and three live bands including No Drama, Echo Steps and South of Detroit Band. There will also be live chain saw carving. Sutton noted that overnight camping and tents are permitted. There will also be games, raffles and prizes. Tickets are on sale now and are $60. Those who want to want to stay in campers have to pay $20 though tents are free.

The canned food drive will be a “Fill a Boat” campaign with the proceeds going to the mission.

“We’ve got a cute eight-foot boat that we’re going to decorate so everyone can put canned goods into it,” said Sutton.

The third event is a “Festival of Lights” boat parade and dinner on Boblo Island. That is taking place July 28.

“Boats can sign up to enter the festival. We will meet at the Boblo Marina at 4 p.m.,” said Sutton. “The Boblo Beach House Restaurant will host a dinner. At 7 p.m., there will be an award given to the best dressed boat. Everyone is welcome to attend the dinner and enjoy the festival boats. A portion of your dinner purchased is donated to our charity campaign.”

At 9 p.m., the boats will leave Boblo and cruise around the island and down the shore of Amherstburg. Cost to enter a boat is $25 but Sutton said businesses can also enter and put their banners on their boats.

The dinner is a burger and fries for $15 or pickerel for $28.

The fourth event, the one that Boat Spotters said they are the most excited about, is the Barge Bash planned for Aug. 11. It will be held in Crystal Bay in partnership with C-Tow Marine Assistance. Sutton said there will be three bands – The Fabulous Soulshakers, Destroyer and The Formula – performing on a barge in Crystal Bay.

“We have the barge in place and we’re going to do it,” said Sutton.

“It’s time to bring the community together,” added Michelle Laforge, a committee member with Boat Spotters.

The Barge Bash is free and runs from 12 noon to 11 p.m.

Sutton noted there are approximately 15 marinas between LaSalle and Amherstburg.

“It’s a pretty big community between the two towns,” she said. “I formed a group and we connect all boaters from all marinas.”

“It also keeps the boaters aware of what is going on,” said Laforge. “It keeps them informed.”

Boat Spotters also wanted to give back to the community, so they decided to help the The LaSalle Hang Out Youth Center and the Amherstburg Food & Fellowship Mission.

“Boaters are an awesome group of people,” said Sutton. “It’s a really good community.”

The group is also seeking businesses to sponsor their events.

“Anyone who wants to help out with monetary donations or door prizes, it’s all for charity,” said Laforge.

Both Laforge and Sutton agree that the community has been very supportive thus far.

“If this goes well, we’re going to be doing these annually,” said Laforge. “We’re excited to see how these events are going to take place.”

For further information on Boat Spotters and their events, e-mail, call Sutton at 519-999-6393, visit their website at or find their Facebook group by searching “Boat Spotters LaSalle.”


Mission golf tournament attracts nearly 100 golfers, raises over $6,000



By Ron Giofu


Nearly 100 golfers hit the links on Saturday all in support of the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission.

The mission’s annual golf tournament was held at Dominion Golf & Country Club with the tournament being branded a success, according to its organizer.

“We had 98 for golf and we had 135 for dinner,” said Winston McAllister, tournament organizer and son of board of directors president Tim McAllister.

Winston McAllister said they raised over $6,000 at Saturday’s golf tournament.

“It was a good day. It wasn’t very hot. Everyone came out and supported us. We always have a ton of supporters and helpers,” he said.

Erin Lambros, Leanne Lambros, Torey Gault and Erin Murphy were the winning team at the July 9 golf tournament at Dominion Golf Course that benefited the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission.

Erin Lambros, Leanne Lambros, Torey Gault and Erin Murphy were the winning team at the July 9 golf tournament at Dominion Golf Course that benefited the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission.

All proceeds go back into the operations of the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission, McAllister added, and is earmarked towards whatever programs or projects they need funding for that particular year. In its first nine years, the golf tournament has raised over $50,000.

“I’m always humbled by the support of the people. It’s nice to see everyone come out year after year,” said McAllister.

McAllister stressed that there are no paid staff at the mission and that everyone there gives freely of their time.

“They are operating fully on volunteers,” he said. “No one gets paid.”

The tournament celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2017 but McAllister said he hopes it lasts a lot longer than that.

“Hopefully we’ll be doing this for 50 years to come,” he said.

Local family donates new computer stations to Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission



By Ron Giofu


Adam Bieszk’s memory will live on at the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission thanks to a donation from his family.

Surrounded by a room full of family and friends, father Leon, mother Nella and sister Dyzia officially dedicated four new computer work stations to the mission in Adam’s memory. Nella said Adam died over two years ago and after going through a dark spell where things didn’t matter to them, it was Adam’s memory that made things matter again.

Leon, Dyzia and Nella Bieszk cut the ribbon on one of the four computer work stations the family donated in memory of their son and brother Adam.

Leon, Dyzia and Nella Bieszk cut the ribbon on one of the four computer work stations the family donated in memory of their son and brother Adam.

“It started by simply living each day to honour him,” said Nella. “We told ourselves every morning when the pain wracked our bodies to think about how we would honour Adam today. That meant we had to get up. We became students of Adam, reading what he read, listening to his music, learning from his friends and colleagues who he was as a man.”

The Bieszks quickly learned about the contributions Adam made and the “incredible presence” he had when he was around. The family even went to New York to participate in the People’s Climate March in his memory.

“Honouring this beautiful soul has become our reason for living along with our beautiful daughter,” Nella stated.

Nella said they had been searching for a way to give to the community in a way “that truly represented who Adam was.” She came across an ad for the Mission’s annual meeting about eight months ago and she went with friend Karen Rosati and learned what the mission stood for.

“What I did know by the time I left the mission that night was this was the place,” said Nella. “It felt right. When I spotted a few old desks and computers in the back of the room, I asked (first vice president) Shirley (Hitchcock) about their purpose. She mentioned that children who came for a hot meal at the mission used the equipment to do their homework, as many did not have working computers at home. Adults used them as well, for job applications, looking things up or for simple entertainment.”

Adam Bieszk's aunt and godmother Eva Bieszk and his uncle and godfather Angelo Cavallaro cut one of the four ribbons.

Adam Bieszk’s aunt and godmother Eva Bieszk and his uncle and godfather Angelo Cavallaro cut one of the four ribbons.

It was at that moment she knew how to honour Adam’s memory.

“I went home to Leon, very excited, and told him about the experience. It took nothing to convince him so I knew it was the right decision,” she said.

Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission vice president Shirley Hitchcock and Mayor Aldo DiCarlo cut one of the four ribbons last Friday night.

Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission vice president Shirley Hitchcock and Mayor Aldo DiCarlo cut one of the four ribbons last Friday night.

Nella added that Adam believed in social justice, education and leveraging technology and the new work stations represent those beliefs.

“Education has become synonymous with technology; the two can no longer be separated,” she said. “Allowing children and adults access to technology in a safe and comfortable environment is something Adam would have wholeheartedly supported, of that I am sure.”

The family also thanked all those who made the donation possible and the mission for helping those in need.

Eva Bieszk, Adam’s aunt and godmother, said she loved Adam like he was her own son, adding that Adam was someone who gave out hugs and support to those around him. She said she has many precious memories of Adam and also believed the donation of computers was something that was fitting for his memory.

Tim McAllister, president of the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission’s board of directors, thanked the Bieszk family for their donation and pointed out the many programs the mission offers. He said it is not just meals, but the mission also offers a food bank, fresh vegetables and fruit, a baby food program and other programs aimed to assist people get back on their feet.

“We have many dedicated volunteers from the community give their time to run this mission unconditionally,” said McAllister.

The financial donors also “help us do what we are doing,” he said.

Hitchcock pointed out they served over 17,000 hot meals last year and distributed over 4,000 pieces of clothing to those in need.

Mission president Tim McAllister cuts one of the ribbons.

Mission president Tim McAllister cuts one of the ribbons.

While there may be those that question the amount of people that need assistance, Hitchcock said there are many who do require help.

Hitchcock also thanked the Bieszk family, stating “they’ve blessed us” with the computer work station donation.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said attending events like Friday night’s dedication ceremony “is the best part of the job.” He said such events reinforce that Amherstburg is not just a municipality, but “a community of really great people.”

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale, who also serves on the mission’s board of directors, believed things get better every day at the mission.

“It says a lot for our community,” he said.