McCarthy’s Irish Christmas a Smashing Success

By Jennie Acklin

The spirit of the season was unmatched at last Friday night’s Irish Christmas held at the Gin Mill.

According to Greg Cappelli of the Ellicottville Rotary Club, “We raised more than $11,000 with the pie auction, the birdhouse pie stand and other things Irish. Not to mention the wagon load of toys that generous donors brought.”

The top pie bid was $775 for MariBeth Rick’s double pie awarded to Tom Bradish.

The highest bid amount — $2,000 for a special New Year’s dinner at Ilio DiPaolo’s, donated by Patty and Michael DiPaolo – was won by Mike Young.

Cappelli wanted to send a specific “Thank You” to all of the Canadian friends that made a special trip to Ellicottville just to be able to donate to this enchanting event.

In addition to 10 pies up for auction (each of them also came with a handmade wooden pie box), McCarthy had Irish walking sticks with hats and scarves, raffle tickets, 50/50 tickets, a handmade quilt and many other unique items.

“Tons of toys were brought to the wagon,” said Cappelli. “There were more than enough to take care of Ellicottville’s families in need. Cattaraugus Community Action will also benefit from Ellicottville’s generosity.”

The money and gifts donated go to Santa’s Workshop, a confidential program by Family Support for Ellicottville, which is an affiliate of the Rotary Foundation for Youth.

Most people who know McCarthy know that he has a soft spot for children, and the thought of a needy child going without a Christmas gift is unimaginable to him.

As McCarthy put it, “If a child wakes up on Christmas morning with no gift under the tree, then there is no hope.”

He emphasized the importance of giving hope to a child in the form of gifts under the tree during the magical time of Christmas and that it gives children the opportunity to feel good.

At Santa’s Workshop, parents can choose gifts for their children, and children can also shop for gifts for their parents and siblings.

Any surplus items are donated to other children in need, through the efforts of Cattaraugus Community Action (CCA), whose mission is to assist citizens to achieve economic, physical and emotional security. All money and donations raised during this event will be used to help local children and families in need — it all stays in our community.

For those who could not attend the event, but would still like to make a donation, they can mail it to The Rotary Club of Ellicottville, P.O. Box 101, Ellicottville, NY 14731.  A toy or gift donation can be dropped off at 47 Elizabeth St. in Ellicottville.

Irish Christmas was a night of laughter, generosity and a healthy dose of Christmas spirit by all who attended. It’s what makes Ellicottville one of the greatest places to call home or to visit often!