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Local restaurants helping “March for Meals” campaign

Updated: Apr 12

Amherstburg Community Services Campaign Partic
Amherstburg Community Services has launched the “March for Meals” campaign with the theme being “Restaurants Unite to Support Meals on Wheels.” Three of the eight restaurants participating in the March 20 event were at a press event Monday. From left: Sarah Brush from Speck’s Restaurant, Chris Garbutt from Gilligan’s, ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo, ACS program director Branka Stewin, Carlin Goodison from Kona. Other restaurants include the Salty Dog, Pepper Cat, Artisan Grill, Shooter’s, and Burger Sixty-Seven.


As a way to highlight its Meals on Wheels program, Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) is participating in the provincial “March for Meals” initiative.

A kickoff was held Monday morning for this year’s campaign, which is themed locally as “Restaurants Unite to support Meals on Wheels.” Eight restaurants have agreed to donate anywhere from $1 to $5 per meal, depending on the restaurant, to Meals on Wheels.

Seven of the eight participating restaurants are in Amherstburg and they include the Artisan Grill, Burger Sixty-Seven, Gilligan’s Fire Grill, the Pepper Cat, Salty Dog, Shooter’s Roadhouse and Speck’s Restaurant. One LaSalle restaurant – Kona – is also taking part.

ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo said last year’s campaign saw restaurants donate soup to the Meals on Wheels program. This year, they are trying to unite restaurants with donations being made through sales.

DiBartolomeo said they are trying to meet the nutritional needs of seniors. Each meal comes with soup, bread, main course and dessert with ACS able to work with the dietary needs of seniors.

“Getting a meal delivered daily lets them live in their homes longer,” said DiBartolomeo.

Caregivers also get a break, as Meals on Wheels volunteers also are able to check in on seniors and ensure they are well and visit with them for a brief period as the meal is being delivered.

A few of the local restaurants participating in the “Restaurants Unite” initiative were able to attend a Monday morning press conference at ACS.

Sarah Brush, owner of Speck’s Restaurant, said they have been in business for 53 years and have always helped ACS.

“We’ve been supporters of Meals on Wheels for a long time now,” said Brush. “We always want to support our community and people within our community.”

Brush agreed Meals on Wheels is a vital program for seniors.

“It is very important to keep people living in their homes for as long as they can,” she said.

Chris Garbutt, manager of Gilligan’s Fire Grill, added they have a great partnership with ACS and want that to continue.

“We are a community business,” said Garbutt. “We always try to get involved in the community.”

Garbutt added they want to support ACS and its initiatives in any way they can.

Carlin Goodison from Kona said that business also tries to get involved.

“We’re always trying to do things for the community,” he said. “We do things all the time to support the community.”

Goodison said Meals on Wheels is a great program and “we’re happy to be part of it.”

“We are very grateful for (the restaurants),” added DiBartolomeo. “We are very appreciative. It’s a perfect example of our community coming together.”

Approximately 80 volunteers help administer the Meals on Wheels program and over 16,000 meals were served last year. Program director Branka Stewin added there are roughly 110 clients currently, but that number can fluctuate, noting people go into long-term care homes or pass away while new clients join.

DiBartolomeo said the “March for Meals” program brings awareness to Meals on Wheels, including the fact it doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment for people. If someone is recovering from surgery or another medical condition, they can get Meals on Wheels on a short-term basis while they recover. She said it is “heartbreaking” to hear people say they go without, thinking they can’t get it, or are taking a meal from someone, as DiBartolomeo said there is plenty of food to go around.

Stewin added caregivers sometimes go on vacation and getting Meals on Wheels for a shorter period often fills a gap and ensures a senior doesn’t go hungry. Meals are $7.50 per day and people can register over the phone by calling 519-736-5471.

Meals are available five days per week in Amherstburg and LaSalle and Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in McGregor and Harrow.

“March for Meals” initiative underway at ACS

By Ron Giofu

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