Austin Tyrrell

ACS, Amherstburg Police and Mealtime Express team to help area families



By Ron Giofu


A local partnership between a non-profit agency and the Amherstburg Police Service is continuing to aid local families.

That partnership is also aided by local businesses who continue to contribute to the cause.

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and the Amherstburg Police Service have teamed up again this year with the latter holding a toy drive. ACS then helps distribute the toys to families they know are in need locally.

There will be 83 children and 40 families helped this year, said ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

Mealtime Express’ “Secret Santa Dinner” held last month raised over $12,000 for the cause with a toy drive held jointly between Re/Max realtors John D’Alimonte and Kim Wheeler and Amherstburg Buick GMC also seeing a pickup truck loaded with gifts dropped off.

“We also had the Dupuis family do a lemonade stand,” noted Const. Nathan Harris.

Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and the Amherstburg Police Service teamed with Mealtime Express again this year on a toy drive as part the Secret Santa program. From left: ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo, Const. Nathan Harris, Ashleigh Harris and Const. Steve Owen.

The family of Const. Nick Dupuis, including wife Lauren and children Kailee, Mason and Jett, raised money in the summer at the lemonade stand.

“This is our fifth year,” Harris’ wife Ashleigh said of the Amherstburg police toy drive, and Nathan indicated it won’t be the last even though the Amherstburg Police Service will be no more come Jan. 1 with policing being done by the Windsor Police Service’s Amherstburg detachment.

“As we switch to the Windsor Police Service, we’re hoping to do this partnership with ACS and Mealtime Express again,” he stated.

“We’re pleased with the generosity of the community,” said DiBartolomeo, with Austin Tyrrell, ACS’ community awareness and fundraising coordinator, adding that “it’s nice to see everyone has come together to make sure people have a nice Christmas.”

“We can’t say thank you enough to everyone who helped out with donations and those who came to the fundraising dinner,” stated DiBartolomeo.

The Amherstburg Police Service isn’t done yet in terms of community involvement, as a they will once again present the Special Olympics hockey game at the Libro Centre. That is scheduled for Dec. 21 at 12:30 p.m. with General Amherst High School being the opponents.

ACS’ latest “Wine ‘n’ Hop” tops $4,300



By Ron Giofu


Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) tried a new date for its fall “Wine ‘n’ Hop” event and early returns are positive.

With the twice-yearly fundraiser usually having been held on a weeknight, ACS tried moving it to a Saturday and drew about 90 people.

“It’s a good number. It’s the first time we’ve tried having it on a Saturday,” explained ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo. “We got a lot of positive feedback.”

By having it last Saturday, DiBartolomeo said people were able to relax more and better enjoy themselves. There was also an expansion in the number of restaurants used as six were part of the most recent “Wine ‘n’ Hop” – the Salty Dog, the Beacon Ale House, the Dalhousie Bistro, Rosa’s, the Artisan Grill and Barrel 67. Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 was the starting and ending point.

“The restaurants really outdid themselves,” she said.

Roughly 90 people attended last Saturday’s Wine ‘n’ Hop that made its way to six downtown restaurants. It was the first time that Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) presented the event on a Saturday and organizers were happy with the results.

DiBartolomeo added that if people enjoy themselves during the day and liked the appetizers, they had the option of returning later that evening for dinner.

Amherstburg Community Services thanked their sponsors as well as the restaurants and the people that attended. Austin Tyrrell, ACS’ community awareness and fundraising coordinator, estimated that the latest “Wine ‘n’ Hop” topped $4,300. Despite having one van donated and a new bus on order, ACS is still trying to keep its vehicle fleet in the best shape possible, so the proceeds will go into the vehicle replacement fund.

DiBartolomeo said ACS should receive its new bus within the month.

“We’re happy to continue to host events with local businesses and encourage people to shop local,” added Tyrrell.

Sponsors included John D’Alimonte and Kim Wheeler from RE/MAX Preferred Realty Inc., Dollars and Cents Investments, Bornais Financial Services and Tech-IT-Easy. The free transportation was sponsored by Thrasher Sales and Leasing.

To keep up with the fundraisers, services and events that 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. People can also visit the Amherstburg Community Services’ office, located at 179 Victoria St. S. in Amherstburg.


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

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.”


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 People can also donate directly at Amherstburg Community Services’ office, which is located at 179 Victoria St. S.

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.