toys

Amherstburg Optimist Club hits the cold water to help kids in need

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The temperatures were cold, the wind was brisk and there were snowflakes flying through the air.

What better day for a swim?

The Amherstburg Optimist Club held its annual polar bear dip recently at Colchester Beach. Registration and a post-dip celebration was held at the Shooters Roadhouse in Harrow. Dippers were taken to and from the beach via school bus.

Optimist Club president Brandon Renaud didn’t enter the cold Lake Erie water Saturday but was on hand to help out in other ways.

The Amherstburg Optimist Club held its annual polar bear dip Dec. 9 at Colchester Beach.

“We had about 20 people register,” said Renaud “So far, we’ve raised about $1,600.”

The Amherstburg Optimist Club helped out two families at Christmas time last year and how many they help this year will be determined once an exact fundraising total is available.

“The more we collect, the more we can do,” said Renaud.

The Amherstburg Optimist Club has teamed with the Harrow Kinsmen in the past but Renaud said the Optimists did it on their own this year. He said those who participate always have a good time.

The Amherstburg Optimist Club held its annual polar bear dip Dec. 9 at Colchester Beach.

The Amherstburg Optimist Club held its annual polar bear dip Dec. 9 at Colchester Beach.

“Everyone likes to do it,” he said. “It’s fun. It’s a bit chilly but it’s worth it for the cause.”

Renaud thanked all of the participants, the sponsors and those who donated. He also thanked Keith Bridgen, owner of the Shooters Roadhouse in Harrow, for all of the work he puts into the annual polar bear dip.

The Amherstburg Optimist Club has about ten members, Renaud stated, and meetings are held in various locations in Amherstburg right now until a permanent location can be secured. Anyone interested in joining can e-mail amherstburgoptimistclub@hotmail.com or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AmherstburgOptimistClub.

“We’re always looking for new members and new ideas,” said Renaud.

AAM Goodfellows give out 141 boxes of food and toys to those in need

 

Amherstburg firefighter Mark Stock capped this year's "Stuff a Fire Truck" toy drive Dec. 22. AAM president Rick Murray (right) accepts on behalf of that organization.

Amherstburg firefighter Mark Stock capped this year’s “Stuff a Fire Truck” toy drive Dec. 22. AAM president Rick Murray (right) accepts on behalf of that organization Hüpfburgen.

By Ron Giofu

 

The annual AAM Goodfellows drive is over for another year as 141 boxes of food and toys have been donated to community members in need.

AAM Goodfellows president Rick Murray said the number of boxes given out was slightly lower than it was in 2013.

“Last year, we had 149,” said Murray. “We’re down a little bit this year.”

The retired fire chief added there were a lot of people helping to pack the boxes full of food and toys with the packing taking place at the Amherstburg Knights of Columbus Hall Dec. 22.

Volunteers help unload potatoes at the K of C Hall Dec. 22. The potatoes were just some of the food items that were packed for those in need by the AAM Goodfellows.

Volunteers help unload potatoes at the K of C Hall Dec. 22. The potatoes were just some of the food items that were packed for those in need by the AAM Goodfellows.

The distribution took place from the same location the next day.

“We’ve got some really good help this year,” said Murray.

Members of the Amherstburg Admirals Jr. C hockey team were on hand as were students from General Amherst High School.

“We need some young blood to start taking over from all of us old folks,” Murray joked.

Murray added that it was important to start teaching the younger generation about giving back and helping the community. He thanked all of those who donated towards this year’s campaign, including Sobeys for selling the food at cost and the River Town Times for helping to print the newspapers that were sold Dec. 12-13.

Newspaper sales generated $12,000 for the Goodfellows while they also collected an additional $6,000 in other donations.

All the toys were donated, Murray pointed out, with a “Stuff a Fire Truck” toy drive helping to fill the boxes. Amherstburg firefighter Mark Stock helped co-ordinate that drive. Murray said they try to ensure children up to 12 years of age get the donated toys.