General Amherst students donate to the local food mission



By Christian Bouchard


A group of General Amherst students turned a project into a good deed.

Jaclyn Balogh, the teacher of the Grade 10 civics and careers course at General Amherst said she created a small business global issues project with the idea of thinking globally but acting locally.

“I assigned a project with the idea of researching something the students were passionate about and find out how we can take a global issue and help out locally,” said Balogh. “They decided to do this all on their own and bought into it.”

All 28 students presented their discoveries to the class in small groups. However, the students wanted to take it one step further. As a class, they had many different presentations ranging from human trafficking to hunger. They voted on the best option to help out with locally, with hunger being the chosen issue.

Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister sits with civics and careers students at General Amherst High School. The class recently made a donation of cash and food items to the mission

The students chose to collect canned goods for the Amherstburg food mission as it was a global issue they knew they could help out on a local scale.

Students chose the local mission noting that “hunger exists everywhere and that not everyone is as fortunate as they are.

Although the students were guided with ideas and motivation from their teacher, Balogh was blown away with her student’s efforts. The students collected 350 cans and sold an additional 320 candy grams to raise $550. According to Balogh, there was even a donation from Integrity Tool and Mold which helped pay for the initial startup costs for the candy grams.

Alexis Dicarlo, a student in the careers/civics class, said the project helped her realize even though her classmates are young people they can make a big difference.

“I think doing this opened our eyes,” said Dicarlo. “Seeing a lot of people don’t have what we take for granted every day makes you really grateful.”


General Amherst donation to Heart & Stroke Foundation doubles last year’s


By Ron Giofu

General Amherst High School stepped up to help the Heart and Stroke Foundation with the donation being double of what it was last year.

Student parliament donated $500 last Wednesday morning, with the cheque being presented to Heart and Stroke Foundation area manager Holly Kirk McLean. McLean said that the Heart and Stroke Foundation is about research, education and advocacy.

The money raised will have a direct benefit locally, she noted.

“It funds the research which helps save the lives that we want to save,” said McLean.

Student parliament members from General Amherst High School presented a $500 cheque to the Heart and Stroke Foundation last week. From left: deputy PM Tate Levesque, student parliament Prime Minister Linden Crain, Cassidy Zelle, Heart and Stroke Foundation area manager Holly Kirk McLean and Ethan Richard.

Heart disease has a devastating impact on women, as it kills five times more females than breast cancer. Youth are also seeing negative impacts to their health as obesity rates are up 30 per cent, said McLean, with Type 2 diabetes also being on the rise.

There are reports of youth with cholesterol levels as high as their parents and grandparents, she added.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation also wants to increase access to healthcare to Indigenous people, said McLean. She said there is a big divide in what Indigenous people receive as compared to the rest of the population and the Heart and Stroke Foundation wants to help close that gap.

Educating people on the risks and what they can do to mitigate those risks is important, McLean stated.

Tate Levesque, deputy prime minister at General Amherst, said student parliament held a number of events around the high school including a pong tournament, hat days and candy gram and “crush cans” on Valentine’s Day.

Prime Minister Linden Crain said the donation and the events leading up to it were more than just raising money.

“The first goal is to raise awareness,” said Crain.

SACU receives $50,000 donation thanks to Amherstburg couple


By Ron Giofu

Save African Child Uganda (SACU) has received a large donation from an Amherstburg couple with that money going towards more new classrooms.

SACU received $50,000 from the couple with SACU committee member Ingrid Silvaggio Heugh stating the couple wishes to remain anonymous.

“Dreams do come true,” she stated.

Heugh noted that a single classroom she had been fundraising for is finished and a second two-unit classroom has also been completed. The $50,000 donation will allow SACU to construct a four-pod classroom for babies and younger students with a common area in the middle. The new building will also be able to have indoor washrooms, said Heugh.

The donation was made after recent articles were published in the River Town Times about Heugh and her trip to Uganda. SACU supports children in the Ugandan village of Buwando.

“The Lord has answered a lot of our prayers,” said Heugh. “We’re quite excited about all of this. It’s a very generous couple.”

Heugh said this will complete the number of permanent classrooms they need and get the students into buildings with concrete floors and walls. Makeshift classrooms built with tree limbs, metal sheets and other materials SACU could scrounge up will be decommissioned and that is a good thing in another sense, since snakes have been burrowing into the flooring in some of the small rooms.

Another portion of the donation will be used to support families in the area. They also hope to use a portion to start planning for a new shelter, since homeless boys and girls in the current shelter may not be able to use it anymore as the government officials in the African nation may shut it down due to the age of the children and the fact it is a mix of boys and girls.

Another shelter to separate the boys and girls is a project for the future, she noted.

“Believe me, it can be filled very quickly,” said Heugh. “We’re considering using part of the $50,000 to start the process of constructing another shelter for the kids.”

Workers are happy to build such structures, she added, because they not only get some needed money but they also appreciate people giving back to their villages and homeland.

Donations have been coming in at a steady pace, she added, including a substantial donation from an estate last fall. The Harrow woman who died, who was identified simply as “Aunt Madeline,” left the donation through her estate and that has been helpful to SACU as well.

“When she passed, her family wanted to give back because she was very generous when she was alive, especially to those in need,” said Heugh.

Ingrid Silvaggio Heugh stands in a classroom she helped fundraise for in Uganda. Now, thanks to a $50,000 donation from an Amherstburg couple, a new four-pod classroom will be constructed in the village. Heugh is part of SACU. (Submitted photo)

While Heugh was unable to disclose the exact amount, it did enable SACU to fund high school educations for 12 of its students and keep them together. Tuition was over $1,000 for each student.

“To keep those kids together was a great feeling,” she said. “They could stay as a family.” Even though SACU is making significant progress in Uganda, Heugh said there is still more that needs to be done. In addition to the new shelter, there are still children that need to be sponsored.

“My next goal is to get older children sponsored,” she said.

Many children start young but many of SACU’s children have older siblings who haven’t had the opportunity to be educated, stated Heugh.

Sponsoring a child costs $350 annually.

“It’s less than a dollar per day,” said Heugh.

All donations are appreciated, she added.

“What you are able to give is a blessing.”

SACU began when Windsor resident Geri Sutts developed the program with Ugandan resident Ivan Nsera. Early work included clothing and feeding the children and while that continues, matters have improved somewhat to where there is a shelter, school and food garden on their three-acre site. They now have a seven-person committee that, in addition to Sutts and Heugh, includes Betty Westfall, Cheryl Rudgers, Kathy Vriesen, Margie Anson and Elaine Johnson.

Their website – – is still being developed. The public can also access information about SACU on YouTube & Facebook (Save African Child Uganda). Donations and sponsorship cheques may be mailed to 6625 Matchette Rd., LaSalle, ON, N9F 2J9.

Additional information can be obtained and donations can also be made by contacting Heugh at 519-736-3512.

Heugh is also welcoming churches, schools and organizations to contact her so she can make a presentation to them. She has received some invitations, but would like more.
“I want to share my story,” said Heugh.

Halloween fundraiser proves beneficial for Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission



By Ron Giofu


The Grant and Shank families’ efforts in decorating their front lawns for Halloween paid off for the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission.

The McLellan Ave. families decorated their front yards with large Halloween displays again this year but this year they added the ability for people to donate for the mission. Donations were made in the days leading up to Halloween in addition to Halloween night itself and when it was all said and done, approximately 350 food items were collected.

“It went well,” said Heather Shank. “I had no idea what to expect.”

Ken Grant said they were surprised with how much they collected, as this was the first year they tried to collect donations in addition to putting up their Halloween displays.

“We received a lot of comments from people saying it was a great idea,” said Grant.

Shank said she was impressed that donations came in on Halloween itself.

“Some people brought food items on Halloween,” she said. “Who thinks to bring a canned good when they go out trick-or-treating?”

The Shank and Grant families raised 350 food items in conjunction with their Halloween displays. They donated the goods to the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission. From left: Mission president Tim McAllister, Heather Shank and Ken Grant.

Tim McAllister, president of the mission’s board of directors, thanked the Grants and the Shanks. He said their donation will help the mission in building up their supply of food items for the coming year.

“It’s starting to generate a feeling for the holidays,” said McAllister.

McAllister called the donation a “jump start” as the Christmas season now approaches and helps them get to the Christmas season.

Grant added they are thankful to all the people who donated, as it was “nice to see people drop stuff off.” He added that they plan on doing it again next year and hope to increase the number of items donated to the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission.

Amherstburg Soccer Club collects used uniforms for a cause


By Jolene Perron


In 2007, a pair of avid soccer playing sisters from LaSalle started a movement, which has now made its way into Amherstburg

Melissa and Erica Iarusso both played in school and competitive soccer teams growing up.

“While in high school the pair noticed that they had accumulated jerseys from over the years that had been going to waste sitting in boxes in their basement,” said Brittney Lawrence, LaSalle Centennial Rotary Club liaison for the Interact Club LaSalle. “The idea sprung to host a collection at their local high school, to find a way to gather all used uniforms and donate them to individuals who could put them to use. In addition to their individual project, Melissa and Erica formed a partnership with the LaSalle Stompers Soccer Club for players to donate their jerseys annually.”

Lawrence explained the two were not Rotarians at the time, but they did find out there was a need for jerseys in other countries around the world. This lead the two to connect with Rotarian Shelly Dubin, who Lawrence said, had travelled to several countries and had noticed there were house league teams being started in these countries.

The LaSalle Centennial Rotary Club collected gently used soccer uniforms at Amherstburg’s Day of Champions July 29, which will be donated to countries in need.

The LaSalle Centennial Rotary Club collected gently used soccer uniforms at Amherstburg’s Day of Champions July 29, which will be donated to countries in need.

“A group of local Rotarians from Windsor Clubs have continuously been traveling to various countries and bringing along with them the donated uniforms,” said Lawrence. “From 2007 to present over 2,000 uniforms have been collected; ranging from house league jerseys, socks, shorts, competitive jerseys and soccer gear.”

Lawrence said funding for the trips comes from the respective clubs and international projects.

Since starting this project, Melissa and Erica have both become members of the Rotary Club of LaSalle Centennial, and even when they moved out of town to pursue their careers in Toronto, the Rotary Club wanted to keep it going under their Interact Club.

“This past May the Interact club was approached by the Amherstburg Soccer Club and asked to host collection bins for used uniforms, so that Amherstburg families could participate,” said Lawrence. “The Interact club was honored to collect uniforms on the Day of Champions July 29 at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg. Due to the great success of the collection, a bin will be located in the Libro Centre for the week of July 31 to August 5. Used soccer jerseys, soccer socks and shorts are welcomed.”

The final day of the collection will occur Aug. 13 at the Day of Champions in LaSalle.

Terry Sawchuk, Amherstburg Soccer Club president said he feels they are very fortunate to be in a position to do this collection.

“Our kids have so much more available to them and this is a small way to ‘pay if forward’ and essentially clean out our closets, and to the recipient of these uniforms, it could mean so much more,” said Sawchuk. “In essence we could have a team being represented in either one of those African countries from ‘Amherstburg’ which I think is a great notion. This is an extremely small thing we can do, that could have a huge impact on these other children’s lives.”