toy drive

Amherstburg stuffs fire trucks with toys for Christmas

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

For five years, Amherstburg Fire and Rescue employees have been helping families in need within their community by collecting toys for children and families for the holiday season.

Amherstburg Fire and Rescue employees went out into the community to gather toys from their multiple drop off locations Dec. 20. One of their stops was at General Amherst High School, where students came together to collect piles of toys to donate to the cause.

“It’s awesome, the generosity of the people of Amherstburg is just amazing,” said Mark Stock, firefighter with the Amherstburg Fire and Rescue and coordinator of the toy drive. “We have an abundance of toys, every year people come out and make us proud to be Amherstburg residents.”

This year, their drop off centers at Movati Fitness Club, Amherstburg Home Health, Canadian Tire, General Amherst High School and Joe Meloche Ford brought in hundreds of toys, which were them given to Goodfellows to distribute to families along with their food baskets Dec. 20.

Amherstburg Fire and Rescue employees went out into the community to gather toys from their multiple drop off locations Dec. 20. One of their stops was at General Amherst High School, where students came together to collect piles of toys to donate to the cause.

“Some of them I deliver myself because some of the families aren’t able to drive to pick them up so I get to play Santa and go and deliver several of the packages on Wednesday or Thursday,” said Stock. “It’s awesome, some of the families are in tears with joy, it’s just an amazing feeling to help people out. We look forward to people helping every year and it shows how much people care about others.”

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.”

Amherstburg firefighters hit the town to collect toys

 

By Jonathan Martin

Sparky the Fire Dog got to ride in an Amherstburg fire engine Monday as he collected donations for his toy drive.

Seven firefighters from Fire Station No. 1 – along with their furry mascot – filled one of their fire trucks with toys picked up from drop-off locations at Amherstburg’s WFCU branch, Movati Athletic Amherstburg, Amherstburg’s Canadian Tire and General Amherst High School.

General Amherst High School student council, Amherstburg firefighters and Sparky the Fire Dog pose for a photo with the 590 toys GAHS students gathered for the 2016 Stuff a Fire Truck Toy Drive in Amherstburg Monday.

General Amherst High School student council, Amherstburg firefighters and Sparky the Fire Dog pose for a photo with the 590 toys GAHS students gathered for the 2016 Stuff a Fire Truck Toy Drive in Amherstburg Monday.

According to Amherstburg firefighter Mark Stock, this year’s toy drive was a blazing success.

“There are going to be a lot of happy families come Christmas morning,” said Stock. “We’ve got a fire truck completely stuffed full of toys.”

Stock said the toys will be delivered to families through the Amherstburg Goodfellows. While he was unsure of how many families will receive a gift, he said he is confident this year’s takeaway is as good – or better – than last year’s.

Amherst was the last stop on the firefighters’ trip. Ruben Tar, GAHS student parliament prime minister, said he is proud of his classmates’ participation.

“Our goal was ultimately go get one toy from every student,” he said. Amherst houses roughly 650 students. “We came very close to that at 590 (toys).”

Tar and Miya Taylor, deputy prime minister, said they are proud of their bulldogs and wouldn’t have done anything different given the chance. They attribute the campaign’s success to their student government’s social media presence and the face-to-face time they spend with their classmates.

Staff at WFCU’s Amherstburg location make a toy donation to the Amherstburg Fire Department Monday morning. (Submitted photo)

Staff at WFCU’s Amherstburg location make a toy donation to the Amherstburg Fire Department Monday morning. (Submitted photo)

“We got really in their faces this time,” they laughed.

“Amherst collects a large number of toys from the students every year,” said Stock. “They do a really great job.”

Based on his enthusiastic head-nodding, it’s likely Sparky agrees.

WFCU Credit Union’s contribution was part of their Joy of Giving program that includes such things as adopting families and food and coat drives. WFCU’s staff highlight is their “200 Ways of Giving.”

The Amherstburg Fire Department’s toy drive was also given $200 to help with the drive. Other contributions were made to the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission (see photo on Page 14) and Wings Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.

Wings was given $100 as a donation to help with supplies for rescued animals.