Kathy DiBartolomeo

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.

Caesars Windsor Cares kicks off Stuff-a-Stocking for Seniors donation drive with $1,500 donation

 

 

Special to the RTT

 

Since 2013, Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) has collected donations every year to ensure seniors at risk of loneliness and isolation receive a gift during the holidays through their Stuff-a-Stocking campaign.

This year, they’re starting their campaign off strong with a donation of $1,500 from Caesars Windsor Cares.  ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo says this is as good a start as they could have hoped for.

“This donation really gets us off on the right foot and we can’t thank Caesars Windsor enough for stepping forward like this,” DiBartolomeo said. “Giving to our local seniors, many of whom won’t see many, if any, other gifts come their way this year, is one of the best ways to truly get into the holiday spirit.  We’re really looking forward to seeing our community step up yet again.”

Local seniors help stuff stockings for seniors. ACS is running its Stuff a Stocking for Seniors campaign again this year. (Submitted photo)

Caesars Windsor isn’t stopping with their donation, as they will also give staff the opportunity to volunteer to help prepare the stockings for delivery.  According to Kelly Wolfe Gregoire, vice President of human resources at Caesars Windsor, the staff and management there are thrilled to be involved in the program.

“We are proud to work with Amherstburg Community Services to help older individuals live longer, healthier and more fulfilling lives at every stage of the aging process,” Wolfe Gregoire said.

Donations are now being collected at ACS, 179 Victoria St. S. in Amherstburg.  They need small gifts that can easily fit into stockings such as small toiletries, candy and treats, warm socks, homemade cards, and other small items.  Monetary donations by cash or cheque can be brought to ACS’ office, while donations made by credit card can be given on their website, www.amherstburg-cs.com.

For more information, those interested can learn more by visiting ACS’ website or call their office at 519-736-5471.

 

 

Donations needed for Coats for Kids

Special to the RTT

With winter just around the corner, and the cold weather that comes with it, Amherstburg Community Services has kicked off its annual Coats for Kids donation campaign.  The non-profit organization is seeking donations of winter outerwear that will be distributed to Amherstburg children and families.

“Having a warm, winter coat is a necessity with our unpredictable winters, but it’s a necessity many families can’t afford every year for growing children,” ACS Executive Director, Kathy DiBartolomeo said.  “Amherstburg has so many generous and caring residents.  With your help, we can ensure that every child stays warm this winter, no matter how far the mercury drops.”

Amherstburg Community Services executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo (left) and volunteer Christina Bezaire stand with some of the coats that were available at the ACS office as part of the 2017 Coats for Kids campaign. Donations are now being accepted for 2018.

The organization is now accepting donations of new or gently used coats, gloves, scarves, hats and other winter outerwear of all sizes.  Donations can be dropped off at Amherstburg Community Services at 179 Victoria St S or at Master Cleaners at 400 Sandwich St.

All donations go directly to Amherstburg families who qualify for distribution.  Distribution of the coats will take place out of Amherstburg Community Services from November 12 to November 16.  Anyone interested in receiving coats should contact Amherstburg Community Services at 519-736-5471.  Volunteers are also needed to help distribute the coats.  Those interested should also contact Amherstburg Community Services.  Coats for Kids is provided in partnership with the Unemployed Help Centre of Windsor. For more information, please contact Amherstburg Community Services.