Nathan Harris

Amherstburg Police toy drive sees increased numbers

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Police toy drive has concluded for another year and its not just the police officers involved who are excited.

The Amherstburg Police Service partnered with Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and Mealtime Express’ “Secret Santa” program for the toy drive with distribution of the toys taking place last week.

“We have 79 children and 39 families,” explained ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

Const. Nathan Harris, who helps organize the toy drive annually with wife Ashleigh, said families were chosen through referrals as well as those who have used services and programs offered by ACS.

“We almost doubled the numbers from last year,” said ACS’ community awareness and fundraising co-ordinator.

The Amherstburg Police toy drive, run in conjunction with Mealtime Express’ Secret Santa program and Amherstburg Community Services (ACS), concluded this week. Top row: ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo and Const. Nick D’Amore. Bottom row: Const. Nathan Harris (with Hudson Harris) and Ashleigh Harris.

“I think people are more aware of the program now,” added Nathan. “People have used it and have reached out to friends and family.”

The Secret Santa Benefit Dinner held last month at Mealtime Express raised $9,270.50 towards the initiative.

Both Nathan and Ashleigh Harris as well as Const. Nick D’Amore helped distribute the toys last week, in conjunction with ACS. Arrangements were made with Amherstburg Community Services and families were aware that the toys were being delivered, said Nathan.

Ashleigh added that all parties are very thankful to the community with Nathan pointing out that the town always pulls together to help people in need.

“Once again, the community has shown its generosity,” added DiBartolomeo.

Secret Santa Benefit Dinner popular again at Mealtime Express

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Mealtime Express once again gave people a chance to have a chicken dinner and help local children at the same time.

The ninth Secret Santa Benefit Dinner was held Sunday evening at the Sandwich St. S. restaurant with the public responding favourably again in 2017. The final total of what was raised amounted to $9,270.50.

“We’ve pretty much sold all the tickets,” said Norm Mickle, who owns the restaurant with wife Janet.

Mickle said they have had businesses come forwarded with a wide variety of raffle prizes, adding Mealtime Express is very grateful.

“Everyone is volunteering their time,” he said. “We’ve donated the restaurant and the food and all of the proceeds go to local kids.”

The Secret Santa Benefit Dinner was held Sunday night at Mealtime Express. Staff volunteered their time to be there and were joined by Santa & Mrs. Claus. It is a partnership between Mealtime Express, the Amherstburg Police Service and ACS.

Once again this year, Mealtime Express teamed with Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and the Amherstburg Police Service on the toy drive aspect of the Secret Santa program. ACS helps buy and distribute the goods with Amherstburg police also assisting with a toy drive as well. Mickle said they are happy with the partnership.

The Secret Santa program has been a big success in Amherstburg in its first eight years, he added.

“We’ve helped 200 families and over 500 kids over the first eight years,” said Mickle. “Local kids have received over 3,000 gifts right off of their Christmas lists. It’s actually gifts the kids want for Christmas.”

Mickle called the program “a real community affair” and now team with ACS and Amherstburg police after handling it themselves the first number of years.

“Everyone has their role. It’s perfect,” said ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo. “It’s a great partnership between the three of us. It only helps us get bigger and reach more families.”

Const. Nathan Harris, who helps organize the Amherstburg police toy drive with the aid of wife Ashleigh, said it is in its fourth year with the first three having gone well. Harris said the community seems to have rallied behind the toy drive and they have been able to help a good number of families in Amherstburg.

“We’re hoping to be as successful, if not more, this year and to continue to spread Christmas cheer,” added Harris.

Amherstburg police toy drive helps make Christmas brighter for families

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg police toy drive has once again assisted families this year with the help of some community partners.

The toy drive, overseen by Const. Nathan Harris and his wife Ashleigh, was run in partnership with Amherstburg Community Services (ACS). In turn, ACS also partnered with the Secret Santa benefit dinner run by Norm and Janet Mickle and the staff at Mealtime Express.

“For the past three years, we’ve worked with the Amherstburg Police Service on their toy drive,” explained ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

This year’s toy drive will help with brightening the holiday season for numerous local families, she added.

Amherstburg police completed its toy drive last week in partnership with Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and Mealtime Express. From left: Austin Tyrrell and Kathy DiBartolomeo from ACS, Ashley & Const. Nathan Harris.

Amherstburg police completed its toy drive last week in partnership with Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and Mealtime Express. From left: Austin Tyrrell and Kathy DiBartolomeo from ACS, Ashley & Const. Nathan Harris.

“In the end, we were able to help 49 children in 27 families,” said DiBartolomeo.

ACS had already partnered with Mealtime Express for the Secret Santa program so it made sense to combine everything, added ACS community awareness co-ordinator Austin Tyrrell.

“The police service were able to assist us in delivering the toys,” said DiBartolomeo.

The children were able to get more gifts this year than in previous year, said Nathan. Ashleigh added they received a lot of donations including new bicycles. One person even purchased 52 gifts by himself, she added.

“It’s been really nice,” said Nathan. “The Christmas spirit is alive and kicking in Amherstburg.”