Founded 25 ago by three local Irish politicos – Joe Farley, Mike Harkins and Dan Frawley – the St. Patrick’s Day Society was conceived as a way to raise money for those in need while having a little March 17 fun.
The Society’s first annual communion breakfast was held in the basement of St. Patrick’s Church in Wilmington, complete with paper plates and plastic forks and knives. Nearly three decades later, the Society has raised over $3 million for St. Patrick’s Center, supporting their mission of feeding and clothing the impoverished, homeless and elderly on the city’s east side.
This year, the Society raised a record-breaking tally of $295,000 for St. Patrick’s, a milestone that was celebrated at the annual sponsor’s Irish Stew dinner at St. Elizabeth’s Hall Thursday night. In addition to the check presentation (handled ably by the intrepid Shawn Randall), the night’s highlights included a comedic tour de force headlined by master of ceremonies Mike Hare, the other two Mike’s – Kelly and Walsh – and the ever-lively Joe Farley, Sr.
Beloved Society member Mike Kelly was presented a copy of a limited edition commemorative print by artist Jim McGlynn capturing the St. Patrick’s Day Society parade as it passes by St. Patrick’s Church on King Street. Each member of the St. Patrick’s Day Society signed the print for Kelly.
Friday morning’s breakfast drew nearly a thousand attendees to the Doubletree ballroom, who joined in congratulating longtime Society member and community leader Jack Healy, who was presented with the Dan Frawley Community Service Award.