giving tree

Eye Smile’s “Giving Tree” celebrating tenth anniversary

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A local optometrist’s office is celebrating a milestone year in its attempt at giving back to the community.

Eye Smile is in its tenth year of offering its “Giving Tree,” which helps local families in need. Tags are put on the tree and patients can take one and buy for the families that are in need, though no names are used. Patients then buy goods for the people who are on the tags.

One example of what is on a tag is “Girl – 3-years-old.”

“It grew from a little idea,” explained Dr. Melissa Datillo-Kidd. “It’s grown to this huge thing. It’s fantastic how many people we’re able to help.”

Datillo-Kidd said she is “amazed how the community comes together” and people have also been known to bring in food, money and gift cards during the holiday season.

“It’s pretty cool,” she said.

Eye Smile has been able to help six Amherstburg families and three LaSalle families in recent years and Datillo-Kidd said she wanted to celebrate the “Giving Tree” and its anniversary.

“It’s grown to where the whole community wants to help,” said Datillo-Kidd. “The generosity is so amazing.”

Eye Smile’s location in Amherstburg is found at 503 Sandwich St. S.

Amherstburg Public School concludes holiday toy drive

Micah, Noah, Mateah and Nataliah Egglezos show some of the toys collected during a recent toy drive held at Amherstburg Public School. The drive was held in memory of Maisyn Spencer.

Micah, Noah, Mateah and Nataliah Egglezos show some of the toys collected during a recent toy drive held at Amherstburg Public School. The drive was held in memory of Maisyn Spencer.

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Amherstburg Public School has raised over 400 toys in memory of a little boy who died of cancer last year.

The school raised 464 gifts for the organization “Little Hands, Kids for a Cause,” which was set up in memory of Maisyn Spencer, an eight-year-old boy from Prince Andrew Public School who died last November. Melisa Mulcaster, a Grade 7 teacher at Amherstburg Public School, said the drive ended Tuesday after a two-week period.

“We wanted to focus on paying it forward,” said Mulcaster.

The gifts will benefit hospitalized children in London and Windsor, including being donated to Ronald McDonald Houses.

“We wanted to show Little Hands just how much Amherstburg P.S. likes to help others in need!” she said.

There was a “giving tree” in Mulcaster’s room and she said students were lining up daily with deliveries of new toys.

“The students here have been amazing,” said Mulcaster. “It’s been heartwarming to see them lining up at my door.”

Besides contributing to a great cause, Mulcaster said this also helps APS become a “ME TO WE” school, something Amherstburg is currently striving to be.

“Last year, we acted globally by sponsoring two children from SACU (Save African Child Uganda), and now we will act locally as well, helping out children in our own community,” said Mulcaster.

Mulcaster added they have also been selling candy canes for Hospice.

“We’re really trying to focus here on giving back and helping those who need help,” said Mulcaster.

Aimee Omstead, who co-founded Little Hands with Leigh-Ann Mastronardi, said the group started by raising $700 at a lemonade stand and things spread from there. She said the toys will be earmarked for local children, noting many in London are from Windsor-Essex County.

Laura Spencer, Maisyn’s mother, was thrilled to see how Amherstburg Public School did.

“It’s awesome,” she said. “It’s amazing. It’s great to know his memory is still alive.”

Knowing the toys are for sick children would make Maisyn smile, she added.