Catholic Charities donation

Wellsville businessman Charlie Joyce speaks Thursday in Buffalo after it was announced that he would donate a total of $350,000 to Catholic Charities. Dennis Walczyk, Catholic Charities president and CEO, is seated at right, facing the crowd. The 2019 Appeal co-chair, John Daly, is seated at left, facing the crowd.

With just over two weeks to go in the 2019 Appeal, Catholic Charities recognized Charlie Joyce of Wellsville on Thursday for his personal gift of $250,000, as well as his corporate gift of $100,000 from Otis Eastern Service LLC.

Officials of the 2019 Appeal said the $350,000 total is the single largest personal and corporate donation in the 95-year history of the annual fundraiser in the Diocese of Buffalo.

In a surprise gesture after the news conference in Buffalo, Joyce announced he “just pledged another $100,000 to match donations, preferably small donations, but whatever they want to do, to help close this gap and give us a jump start for the next couple weeks to help bring us over the campaign total.”

Joyce, chairman of the board of Otis Eastern Service, said, “This is a challenging year, but far too many in our community have come to rely on Catholic Charities when they have nowhere else to turn.”

The 2019 Appeal has been conducted under the shadow of the clergy sex abuse scandal in the diocese, and Appeal officials expressed concern earlier this year that the scandal would hinder fundraising efforts. Embattled Bishop Robert J. Malone has assured Western New York that funds raised in the Appeal would not be used to pay claims made by victims of sexually abusive priests.

“I personally invite others, who are able to give, to think of the people for whom this Appeal makes a difference and to support the 2019 Appeal,” Joyce said in a press event announcing his pledge.

Every gift, no matter the amount, is important, Joyce insisted.

“My father was the one who taught me to share from my blessings, to help people in need,” he said. “In fact, Father’s Day is nearly here and it’s a perfect opportunity to honor our fathers for all they instilled in us.”

Joyce, a philanthropic resident of the Wellsville area and benefector of Alfred and St. Bonaventure Universities, has been a longtime supporter of the Appeal, which supports Catholic Charities and the Fund for the Faith. In 2012, his donation made possible the establishment of the Catholic Charities Wellsville Food Pantry and Outreach. The community was underserved and Joyce stepped forward to help when asked. Earlier this year he made a $10,000 donation directly to the pantry.

In recognition of his ongoing generosity, Catholic Charities will rename the site the Joyce Family Food Pantry and Outreach later this year. The pantry has served more than 2,000 individuals and nearly 900 families since it launched, and many more have received clothing and supplies from the Thrift Store which opened in 2016.

“Charlie has generously supported the Appeal year after year, both personally and corporately through his company and on behalf of all of us at Catholic Charities, we are overwhelmed by and very grateful for this gift,” said Dennis C. Walczyk, president and CEO of Catholic Charities. “While we cannot individually thank all our donors in this way, we are truly grateful for the continued generosity we have received for the 2019 Appeal.”

Walczyk said the Appeal faces “a sizeable shortfall compared with previous years at this time,” but he said the organization must remain hopeful. He urged Western New Yorkers to step up to help put food on the table of a family struggling with medical bills, support counseling for a child who has experienced trauma, and provide day care for a frail senior and respite for her caregiver.”

Currently, the Appeal has raised just over $8.9 million, or 81% of this year’s $11 million goal, since kickoff in January. Donations can be made online at ccwny.org/donation or by calling 218-1400 through June 30.

“The fact remains that more than 150,000 of our most vulnerable neighbors across Western New York rely on the programs and services provided by Catholic Charities,” said Appeal Co-Chair John Daly. “Thank you to Charlie for your unwavering support in helping to get us closer to our 2019 Appeal goal. Western New Yorkers are generous and compassionate, and we hope that they continue to give hope to our neighbors who need it most through the support of the 2019 Appeal.”

The annual Appeal helps fund 70 programs and services administered by Catholic Charities across 61 sites in the eight counties of Western New York, along with a number of programs and ministries that benefit all parishes through the Fund for the Faith.

Jim Eckstrom is executive editor of the Olean Times Herald and Bradford Publishing Co. His email is jeckstrom@oleantimesherald.com.)

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