pasta dinner

Rotary Club raises $2,000 for Easter Seals at Martin Breshamer Memorial pasta dinner



By Ron Giofu


The annual Martin Breshamer Pasta Dinner was held again last week and, like in previous years, it proved to be a good fundraiser for Easter Seals Ontario.

The event was presented by the Rotary Club of Amherstburg April 18 at the Columbus Community Hall. It was co-chaired by Rotarians Susanne Bergeron and Joan Donaldson with Donaldson stating that approximately 115 people attended and $2,000 was raised.

Bergeron called it a “phenomenal” turnout and also pointed out there were a number of door prizes from local businesses.

“It’s nice to see the support of the community,” said Bergeron.

Rebecca Rivard, fundraising specialist with Easter Seals Ontario, commented that the proceeds from such fundraising endeavors help in many ways. There are two accessible camps that Easter Seals operates with one near London and another near Peterborough. The cost to send a child to the camp is $2,500 per week, but proceeds as the ones from the Rotary Club’s pasta dinner help offset costs.

Money is also put towards specialized equipment to increase accessibility. There are also post-secondary scholarships offered, she added.

Faith Turner is this year’s Easter Seals Ambassador. She was one of the roughly 115 people that attended the Rotary Club of Amherstburg’s Martin Breshamer Memorial Pasta Dinner.

The dinner was named in honour of Martin Breshamer, a long-time Rotarian who oversaw the pasta dinner and other Easter Seals fundraisers.

“(Martin) was a force to be reckoned with, for sure,” said Bergeron.

Rivard said that while she never met Breshamer, she searched his name on her computer and quickly discovered who he was and what he was all about.

“It’s amazing what this man accomplished,” said Rivard.

“We are carrying on his legacy,” added Donaldson. “Martin was an important part of our Rotary Club. We miss him dearly.”

Members of the Breshamer family were also on hand for the dinner, as was Faith Turner. Turner is this year’s Easter Seals ambassador.

“I am very honoured to represent people like me and be their voice,” said Turner.

Turner believed people with disabilities should have the same opportunities as other people.

“They are sort of tucked away,” said Turner, who has spina bifida. “They are just as important as anyone else.”

For more information about the Rotary Club of Amherstburg and their events, visit, “Like” them on Facebook or “Follow” them on their new Twitter site found by going on and searching @RAmherstburg.

Rotary Club of Amherstburg’s annual Easter Seals dinner April 18

Special to the RTT


The Rotary Club of Amherstburg will hold its annual Easter Seals Dinner at the Columbus Community Hall April 18 from 5-7 p.m.

The dinner funds opportunities for children and adults with physical disabilities. The Rotary Club has named the pasta dinner in honour of the late Martin Breshamer, who created it locally. The Columbus Community Hall is located at 190 Richmond St. in Amherstburg.

Martin was a quiet pillar of the community through his many activities, all the while being the busy former plant manager for the local Seagram (now Diageo) plant.

The Martin Breshamer Memorial Easter Seals pasta dinner is next Wednesday night. Breshamer (pictured) organized the dinner annually as well as a walkathon. (Submitted photo)

For those with disabilities, he was a board member of Easter Seals, organized the Easter Seals walkathon and pasta dinner, ensured playgrounds were handicap-accessible, and was a board member and former chairman of the Rotary Children’s Rehabilitation Centre (now John McGivney Centre).

For Amherstburg, he arranged the Seagram Concert Series for the Windsor Symphony Christmas Concert, installed the Rotary Clock at the foot of Richmond St., was a board member of the Amherstburg Historic Sites Association and the Park House Museum, a fund raiser for the St. John the Baptist Church Restoration Fund, manager of the annual haunted house, and of course, president and board member of the local Rotary Club.

For the area, he was a United Way chairman where he exceeded the goal by 20 per cent and assisted small business through the Essex Community Future Development Corporation.

Having been born in The Netherlands where he survived WWII as a boy, Martin used to say, “Canada has been good to me and in my retirement, I can give my time to help others.”

In view of his many accomplishments, it is understandable why Canada awarded him the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 and Rotary presented him the Paul Harris Award.

Pasta dinner held for Hope of St. Joseph Shelter in the Congo



By Ron Giofu


A pasta dinner fundraiser was held in Amherstburg for a shelter in the Congo with the priest who runs it formerly being based at St. John the Baptist Church.

The shelter was started in 2006 by Father Donato Lwiyando, who the Amherstburg community recently bid farewell to as he is now back in the Congo. Despite Father Donato leaving Canada for his homeland, the social justice committee at St. John the Baptist Church is still moving forward in raising money and awareness of the African women’s shelter.

Mary Beneteau, a member of the social justice committee, said she regularly corresponds with Father Donato and he arrived back home safely.

Father Donato Lwiyando is back in the Congo but the social justice committee at St. John the Baptist Church is still raising money for his Hope of St. Joseph Shelter. They recently held a pasta dinner at the Columbus
Community Hall. (Special to the RTT)

“It’s a little more dangerous there than it was when he visited in the summer,” said Beneteau. “He has to be in before dark. It’s not safe to be outside after dark.”

However, Beneteau said “the girls are fine” and were thrilled to see Father Donato when he returned to Africa.

“He’s getting to know the kids. There are many new ones,” said Beneteau. “He’s happy to be there. He’s been spending time with the girls and his family.”

March is “Month of the Woman” in the Congo so Father Donato has gone shopping with them and purchased fabric for new clothing. He still stays in touch with people locally, including Beneteau, via Skype, Facetime and text message.

“I hear from him every two or three days, at least,” said Beneteau.

While he has built the shelter, Beneteau said Father Donato still dreams of building a school in the Congo. In the meantime, he will work at the shelter fixing beds and doors and trying to provide the girls with blankets and a television.

The St. John the Baptist Church social justice committee held a pasta dinner recently to help Father Donato’s shelter in the Congo. Starting front row left: Rose Shaw, Rose Beneteau, Harry Beneteau. Back row (from left): Larry Allen, Mary Beneteau, Marc Beneteau, Susan Monaghan, Christina D’Aloisio, Ralph Orsi.

Beneteau added electricity is “irregular” in the Congo as it is only available to citizens a few hours per day. A calendar sold through St. John the Baptist Church has provided for solar panels, which helps give the shelter even more access to electricity.

Father Donato sends his love and best wishes to the Amherstburg community, Beneteau added, as he enjoyed his time in the community.

Anyone wanting to purchase a 2018 calendar can call Beneteau at 519-736-6263. The cost is $10.

To donate to the shelter or to sponsor a girl, people can make an e-transfer from their financial institution to or mail or drop off a cheque payable to Hope of St. Joseph Shelter, 273 Fryer St., Amherstburg, ON, N9V 3G7.

For more information, visit

St. Clair students to hold fundraiser for Miracle League of Amherstburg



By Jolene Perron


As part of their business and marketing programs, a group of St. Clair College students have been given the task of planning, organizing and running a charity event and have chosen an Amherstburg organization to be their recipient.

“My hopes for this event is to raise the maximum amount of money possible, have a fun environment and provide the best experience to the families and children involved,” said Patrick Thompson, Amherstburg resident and student in the business and marketing program. “It’s an exciting opportunity for us as soon to be marketing professionals to be able to plan and organize an event as large scale as we hope this evening can be.”

Thompson said the Nov. 22 pasta dinner fundraiser will take place at The Fort Family Fun Centre. They have named the event “Miracle at The Fort” and it costs $20, which will include the dinner as well as an entry to win a brand new smart phone. Participants must be present to win, and there will also be silent auctions and raffle prizes at the event.

Although The Fort Family Fun Centre has only been open since February, co-owner Brad Hearn said they have been helping charities from the start as well as sponsoring various sports teams.

“We like to help organizations in our direct community,” explained Hearn. “The Miracle League is a great organization here in Amherstburg. We have helped them before. We have discounted the food pricing as well as the hall rental to help the fundraising. We do our best to help out in the direct community.”

For more information or to purchase tickets, e-mail or text or call 226-787-8640.

Verdi Club hosting fundraising dinner for Fort McMurray fire victims


By Ron Giofu


The Verdi Club is doing its part to assist those impacted by the fire in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

The club will be hosting a fundraising pasta dinner June 15 with proceeds being directed to the Canadian Red Cross, who will in turn assist the fire victims.

Event organizer Vince Muoio said the Verdi Club has a mandate to give back to the community and when they see a good cause like this one, they pursue it. He said a lot of people lost property and jobs have been impacted as well.

“We want to help out those unfortunate people in Fort McMurray,” said Muoio. “A lot of these people have lost their homes and worldly belongings. It’s something no one wants to go through.”

Verdi Club signWEB

Muoio said the Verdi Club has teamed with the Canadian Red Cross in the past and said they are glad to do so again.

“It’s going for a great cause and we are dealing with a reputable charity too,” said Muoio.

He added that the Amherstburg community typically comes through for charities and those in need.

“Amherstburg donates kindly for others,” he said. “They’ve done it for years. The public is always looking out for their neighbours and friends.”

The June 15 dinner will be pasta, salad and bread with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 each and are available at the Verdi Club office in advance or at the door.

For more information, call 519-736-4382.