Kathy DiBartolomeo

ACS raises nearly $2,500 at fifth annual SOUPer Wednesday



By Ron Giofu


About a dozen local restaurants competed to see who had the best soup, but it was Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) that was the true winner.

ACS held its fifth annual “SOUPer Wednesday” last week at the Columbus Community Hall. Roughly 150 people attended, a slight decrease from last year, but the event managed to raise almost $2,500.

“We’re getting a lot of positive feedback,” said ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo. “People really look forward to the event. We’re seeing new faces and a lot of returning faces. We’re really pleased with that.”

Gilligan’s Fire Grill was voted the top soup at Amherstburg Community Services’ fifth annual “SOUPer Wednesday” fundraiser. ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo presents the plaque to Lindsay Wandeloski and Jake Hayes.

Proceeds will be placed in ACS’s vehicle replacement fund. Last year was challenging as the non-profit agency had to take two vehicles off the road but they got through it thanks to a donation of a van from local realtors and car dealers and the purchase of a new accessible bus, the latter in large part due to donations from Concours Mold and the Goggin family.

DiBartolomeo said they don’t want to be in that tough of a position again, so they are saving for the day when they will have to purchase or repair a vehicle once more.

“We know we have to stay on top of it,” said DiBartolomeo.

Restaurants came from around Amherstburg, McGregor and LaSalle to take part in the SOUPer Wednesday event. ACS’ Meals on Wheels kitchen also participated, but they were ineligible from the voting.

“It’s nice to see new restaurants participating. We think this is such a community event,” said DiBartolomeo.

This year’s winner was Gilligan’s Fire Grill, whose Angus Cheeseburger soup captured the close vote. Christeena Ingham, one of the owners, said nearly a full day’s work went into preparing the soup.

Deanna Impens dishes out some of the Beacon Ale House’s soup during the Feb. 20 SOUPer Wednesday event at the Columbus Community Hall.

“We’re very excited,” she said. “A lot of hard work went into that.”

It was the second year in a row Gilligan’s entered that soup.

“I must have done something right this year,” she joked, adding “it’s fun doing something like this.”

ACS is located at 179 Victoria St. S. For more information on their programming, call 519-736-5471 or visit www.amherstburg-cs.com. They can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AmherstburgCS or they can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ACSAmherstburg.

Rotary Club donates $10,000 to ACS thanks to charity game proceeds



By Ron Giofu


The Rotary Club of Amherstburg teamed with the Montreal Canadiens Alumni last month and now the final results are in.

The Rotary Club donated a cheque in the amount of $10,000 to Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) as part of its meeting at Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 last Wednesday night. The bulk of the proceeds came from the Dec. 1 charity hockey game with the Montreal alumni though the Rotary topped up the final amount to $10,000 with funds from their Ribfest account.

“I really enjoyed this event,” said event co-chair Susanne Bergeron. “The club came together in a short period of time.”

Bergeron said while the community enjoyed the sold-out event, they didn’t see the “bumps in the road” along the way. She also thanked Amherstburg Admirals co-owner Wes Ewer and the town’s manager of recreation programming Rick Daly for their help in assisting the club in organizing the game.

The Rotary Club of Amherstburg presented a $10,000 cheque to Amherstburg Community Services last Wednesday night. Most of the proceeds came from the Dec. 1 charity hockey game at the Libro Centre.

“We know the funds are going to be appreciated,” said Bergeron, noting that ACS has programs and services for both children and adults.

ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo said the non-profit agency was very grateful for the donation.

“I cannot thank each and every one of you enough for being so selfless, so generous and so caring,” said DiBartolomeo. “I’m honoured to accept this donation on behalf of Amherstburg Community Services and humbled that the Amherstburg Rotary Club chose to support our small, local charity this way.”

DiBartolomeo said that the money will be utilized to help people in the community who need it most.

“This donation gives us the opportunity to take a serious look into ways we can be more efficient in providing the services people rely on and to consider new ways of helping Amherstburg residents overcome the unique challenges they may face.”

DiBartolomeo added they look forward to “continuing to work with the Rotary Club of Amherstburg to further the missions of both of our organizations.”

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.

Montreal Canadiens Alumni thrill fans at charity hockey game



By Ron Giofu


Usually when the home team loses a hockey game 18-7, there aren’t as many smiles in the arena.

Last Saturday night was an exception.

The Montreal Canadiens Alumni came to the Libro Centre and played against the Amherstburg Rotary team, the latter made up of area residents, business owners, town employees and first responders. The charity hockey game was organized by the Rotary Club of Amherstburg and was a fundraiser for Amherstburg Community Services (ACS).

The Amherstburg Rotary hockey team poses for a group photo with the Montreal Canadiens Alumni team following their Dec. 1 game at the Libro Centre. The Rotary Club of Amherstburg presented the game as a fundraiser for Amherstburg Community Services (ACS).

“It was an amazing night,” said Rotary Club president Joan Donaldson. “It was exciting. It was fun. I think everyone had a good time.”

Susanne Bergeron, another Rotarian who helped organize the event, estimated they had at least 20 volunteers helping out Saturday night.

“It was a big success,” added Donaldson. “It exceeded our expectations.”

Close to 700 tickets were sold, she added. The monetary amount being donated to ACS was not known as of press time.

ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo was happy with how things turned out.

“I think it’s very exciting,” she said. “I think it’s great for the town and the Rotary Club. It’s great for the town to support such a great event.”

The proceeds will go into ACS’ programming, she indicated.

“We will continue to expand and develop new programs,” said DiBartolomeo. “We’re very grateful that Rotary chose us as their designated charity.”

Montreal’s Guillaume Latendresse tucks the puck behind Amherstburg Rotary goalie Justin Rousseau.

Chris Nilan, one of the Montreal Canadiens Alumni that played in the game, said it is enjoyable to travel the country and raise money for charities.

“It’s a lot of fun to get together,” said Nilan. “We are all part of the Canadiens family.”

Nilan stated it’s nice to be able to get to smaller communities as a lot of fans may not get a chance to meet pro hockey players unless they travel to an NHL city. He said he had been to Windsor before but this was the first time he had been in the Amherstburg area, though noted he didn’t have a chance to see much of the town. He joked that “it’s another nice hockey rink” and that they saw a lot of farmland travelling from Windsor to Amherstburg.

Yvon Lambert, a Habs’ legend from the 1970’s and coach of the Alumni team, liked what he saw Saturday night.

Police chief Tim Berthiaume drops the puck for the ceremonial faceoff between Councillor Peter Courtney and Habs legend Chris Nilan.

“It’s always well organized. It’s a good cause,” said Lambert.

The Alumni tour gives the retired NHL stars a chance to get together, have a good weekend and have a few laughs all the while helping local charities, he added. Lambert said the Alumni has about 30 players or so on the roster with about 10-11 of them travelling at one time to cities and towns to play. It was his first time to Amherstburg as well, and he stated he was impressed with the Libro Centre and the community as a whole.

For more photos from the Dec. 1 charity hockey game, visit our Facebook photo album.


ACS unveils new accessible vehicle



By Ron Giofu


Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) has received its long-awaited new accessible vehicle and unveiled it last Tuesday afternoon.

The non-profit agency, which has had to go much of the year shorthanded in the vehicle department, debuted its new vehicle at a media event at JFA, located at the corner of Alma St. and Renaud Dr. The new accessible vehicle has room for eight passengers and two wheelchairs and cost nearly $80,000, with approximately $57,000 of that covered by Concours Mold Inc. and the Goggin family.

“We are grateful to Concours Mold, the Goggin family and all of those who donated,” said Kathy DiBartolomeo, executive director with ACS.

DiBartolomeo said 2018 started on a difficult note for ACS as they had to take vehicles off the road due to their age and the condition of the vehicles.

“Now, it’s ending on a high note,” said DiBartolomeo.

The new accessible vehicle, coupled with a recent donation of a van thanks to a group of car dealerships and realtors, has brought the ACS vehicle fleet back to where they want it.

The new accessible vehicle will help seniors and those with mobility issues get to appointments locally or in Windsor with DiBartolomeo noting that arrangements can be made to accommodate a caregiver as well. The vehicle is now in service and members of the public who need it can call 519-736-5471 for information or to book a ride.

“This vehicle will allow us to run with greater efficiency,” said DiBartolomeo.

Amherstburg Community Services unveiled its new accessible vehicle Nov. 27. The vehicle was purchased with help from donations, including a combined $57,000 from the Goggin family and Concours Mold. From left: Concours deputy chief financial officer (CFO) Kenny Goggin, ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo, Concours corporate HR manager Tiffany Huson and Concours marketing specialist Jmar Eduarte.

Kenny Goggin, deputy chief financial officer (CFO) with Concours Mold Inc., said it will be exciting to watch the accessible vehicle drive around Amherstburg and the surrounding area knowing that people are using it and having a better quality of life.

“It will be exciting to see it driving down the road helping people who don’t have use of transportation as freely,” he stated.

Goggin recalled getting a number of messages earlier in the year about the vehicles, noting that one was from a daughter of a Concours employee that dropped out of school after ACS’s student shuttle was temporarily taken off the road.

“When it was announced the bus was coming, she was extremely excited to go back to school,” said Goggin.

Two seniors who use ACS’ transportation services were thrilled with the unveiling of the new vehicle.

“I think this is just wonderful what these people have done for us,” said June Fox. “I’m 92-years-old and I’m proud of it. This organization is just wonderful, and I can always depend on them.”

“I’m just grateful for these people,” added Carolyn Belisle. “I use (ACS’ transportation services) often. I don’t know where I would be without it.”

For further information on ACS, call them or visit their office at 179 Victoria St. S. People can also get information on their transportation service or any of the other services ACS offers, visit www.amherstburg-cs.com.