Franciscan Center News

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The Franciscan Center in Need of 1,700 Turkeys by Tuesday, November 22

Tony Ley, Executive Director

1,700+ distributed last November at Annual "Turkey Tuesday"

Fort Wayne — November 15, 2016 —The Franciscan Center announces today that it expects to again provide over 1,700 turkeys to clients on its annual "Turkey Tuesday", the Tuesday before Thanksgiving that its Food Pantry is open on November 22.

At its start, Turkey Tuesday was just another service day at the Franciscan Center, distributing about 30 turkeys. The effort has grown into an event of it's own over the past 17 years: "our largest usage day for our Food Pantry is always the Tuesday before Thanksgiving," explains Tony Ley, executive director of The Franciscan Center. "We quadruple our weekly service numbers in one day. Men, women, and children will line up around the building at 4:30 a.m. in the cold of late November even though we do not open for distribution until 9:00 a.m."

This event is community-driven, and the Franciscan Center relies on donations from the community to make this annual event a reality. So, to help meet this need, the Franciscan Center is asking for your donation of a turkey… or two.

"For my family," explains Sally Ley, founder of the Franciscan Center, "memories of Thanksgiving often focus on family and friends gathered around the dinner table, enjoying the wonderful feast prepared them. For many of our clients, this is more of a dream than a reality."

Those wanting to help with Turkey Tuesday have two options: drop off turkeys or donate $14 for the organization to work with area partners and purchase a turkey. "We need nearly the equivalent of $25,000-worth of turkeys to meet our expected need," stresses Tony. "A gift of $140 will help purchase 10 turkeys; $1,400 will fund 100 turkeys. Please think of us as you start shopping this weekend for your own Thanksgiving celebration and consider purchasing a 2nd turkey for someone else's family table."

The organization has already received 200 turkeys donated by Tom Didier Meats; drop off sites for the remaining need of turkeys and donations are the following:

  1. Their main offices at 1015 E Maple Grove Avenue from 9a – 4p M-F and 8a – 11a on Saturday.
  2. Their Family Thrift Store at 925 E Coliseum between Parnell and Clinton streets from 9a – 8p M-F and 9a – 6p on Saturday.

Visit these sites; contact the Franciscan Center at 260-744-3977; send your check to 1015 E Maple Grove Ave, Fort Wayne, 46806; or visit our website at to make an online donation, and help make a holiday for others on November 22.

For more information please contact Tony Ley at 260-710-3985.

turkey tuesday at the franciscan center fort wayne

The Franciscan Center founded in 1989, is a local non-profit serving the impoverished in our community through their food bank, medicine cabinet and sack lunch programs. Last year, they served 74,000 families through their three relief programs and are dedicated to "meeting people where they're at". The Center also operates the Franciscan Center Family Thrift Store, at 925 E Coliseum Blvd. Please contact The Franciscan Center at 260-744-3977 for more information or visit their website at

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May 2, 2013
Tony Ley, Executive Director
Facebook: Franciscan Center

Announcing the New Franciscan Center Family Thrift Store
Franciscan Center Family Thrift Store logo

New Venture by The Franciscan Center Accepting Donations Now, Expected to Open Mid-May

Fort Wayne — May 2, 2013 —The Franciscan Center announces today a new funding venture and service opportunity for the non-profit.

“Today we announce the next big step in our future,” exclaims Tony Ley, Executive Director of The Franciscan Center. “We announce that we have secured the location of the former Goodwill Store at Coliseum Corners, on Coliseum Boulevard between Clinton Street and Parnell Avenue to start our own effort, called ‘The Franciscan Center Family Thrift Store’. Today we continue the steps of diversifying our funding sources and help secure the future of the organization.” The new store features a fun, whimsical logo designed by Russett Design.

“While is sounds funny to say,” continues Tony, “we are truly ‘turning rollerblades into food’ by selling donated clothing, unused sporting equipment, etc. and then funding our programs that provide sack lunches, food, and homecare supplies to thousands of families on the south side of Fort Wayne every year.” By the Franciscan Center’s calculations, a set of rollerblades donated to the Thrift Store, for example, when sold could provide four lunches for its Sack Lunch Ministry or a sack of groceries for a family at their Food Pantry. “Just think of that,” notes Tony, “something sitting in someone’s garage right now can provide support for those in need without any out-of-pocket costs to the donor. And just as important, 100% of your donation stays local and funds only local needs.”

“This new venture will serve our needs in multiple ways,” adds Sally Ley, Co-Founder and Board Chair of the organization. “Ever since the economic uncertainty of 2008, our traditional funding sources, including our annual dinner & auction, foundation grants, and personal donations, have been below historical levels. We have been looking for alternative funding sources, so when the opportunity was presented to us, our board quickly jumped at the chance.”

The Thrift Store will also allow the organization to expand the volunteer and service opportunities available. “The second half of our mission,” explains Sally, “is to provide opportunities for the community to support those in need. Church groups, school groups, scout groups, youth groups, college groups, interns, and families continue to volunteer at our home office in the Hanna Street/Gaywood St./Maple Grove area. Now we have an additional opportunity for volunteers on the north side of town.”

Thanks to the generosity of their new landlords, Coliseum Reality, the new Family Thrift Store was able to take possession of the store on April 1, stock the store, and plan to open for business mid-May. “Our new landlords have been wonderful to work with,” adds Tony. “They see this store as a valuable mission for the community and want to help make it work. They even allowed us to continue to have the popular drop off site located on premises behind the strip mall.”

The Thrift Store is still in need of additional store displays, fixtures, and clothing racks as it continues to set up donations for the following items: clothing, all sizes, genders, and seasons; holiday-themed decorations; books/CDs/movies, games, and other media; school uniforms; housewares; sporting equipment, bikes, etc.

For more information about the Franciscan Center Family Thrift Store, how to support the effort, or to reserve a Drop Off Box for your place of business, please contact Tony Ley at 260-744-3977.

The Franciscan Center, founded in 1989, runs a Food Pantry, Medicine Cabinet and Sack Lunch program on the south side of Fort Wayne with over 80,000 client visits in 2012 and an expected growth of 17% a year. Please contact The Franciscan Center at 744-3977 for more information or visit their website at


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February 3, 2012
Contact: Tony Ley, Executive Director

The Franciscan Center Announces Big Move

$189,000 Campaign will allow organization to better serve volunteers and clientele

Fort Wayne — February 3, 2012 — The Franciscan Center announces today that it is making a big move.

Jean Kelly Building CampaignIn mid December The Franciscan Center silently initiated the Jean Kelly Building Campaign to relocate the programs and services of the organization. The total campaign goal is $189,000 and includes the purchase of a building, an addition, renovations, equipment, and a reserve fund. To date the organization has raised $50,000 or 26% of the total goal. As soon as funds are raised the organization will move into its new home as soon as it can.

“The building is located at 1015 E. Maple Grove Avenue, only a few hundred feet from where we has been operating out of the former Sacred Heart elementary school since 1999,” explains Sally Ley, Co-founder of The Franciscan Center. “The new location first served as the Sacred Heart Convent for several decades before being purchased and ran as The Church of Fort Wayne in the 1970s.” Recently vacated, the building is 4,500 sq. ft. with a 1,400 sq. ft. basement and 1,000 sq. ft. in out buildings. The building has already been purchased with the first lead gift to the campaign.

“It was very important that we re-locate to a space that would not only allow us to continue our existing programs, but also continue to serve the community of our core clientele and volunteers on the Southside of Fort Wayne,” adds Tony Ley, Executive Director, “and we praise God that this building was available when we needed it.”

The Franciscan Center is moving to save costs and to better serve its volunteers and clientele. “We will save over $20,000 annually just in overhead and other operating costs by moving to the new building. Just the savings in utility and leasing costs alone will have a total investment payback in less than 10 years,” notes Tony.

In addition to this huge financial savings, the move will allow the organization to better serve its clients and volunteers. The building service areas are all on the ground floor, eliminating the use of stairs for our elderly and handicapped clients and volunteers, as well as resulting in smoother lines with less confusion. Also, having all operations and staff on the same floor, they can consolidate employee and volunteer spaces, and therefore operate and communicate more efficiently with far less heavy lifting and moving. The new location will also give us the freedom to expand and change services and activities in the future.

photo of Jean KellyThe new building will be named for the late Ms. Jean Kelly, SFO, cofounder of The Franciscan Center. Jean helped found The Franciscan Center in 1989 and was its “quiet strength” and backbone until her passing in 2008. Jean was more than happy to work backstage, exemplifying the Franciscan Spirit of Humility and Love for the disadvantaged.

When The Franciscan Center decided on a name for our new building, the choice of naming it after Jean was unanimous. Sally notes that “I counted Jean among my closest friends and confidants and I can truly say that The Franciscan Center would not be where it is today without her wisdom, dedication, prayers, and financial support.”

The Franciscan Center has created the following list of naming opportunities to help reach their goal. Any gift is appreciated to help us reach our goal:

Gifts of $1,000-$4,999:
Your name will be listed on our Dedication Board in the main lobby of the new building for all visitors, clients, and volunteers to appreciate your generosity.

Gifts of $5,000-$9,999:
In addition to the Dedication Board listed above, you will also receive an engraved stone with your name in our new concrete walkway.

Gifts of $10,000 and up:
In addition to the Dedication Board and Engraved Stone listed above, you can have the opportunity to attach your name to one of the rooms, offices, halls, or meeting spaces in the new building.

The organization is also looking for contractors and renovation experts willing to reduce aspects of their services to help reduce our overall costs. “Any in-kind donation of services and materials is as good as cash to us, and could qualify for one of the above naming opportunities,” notes Tony.

For more information about the Jean Kelly Building Campaign and how to support the effort, please contact Tony Ley at 260-744-3977.

Donate to the Jean Kelly Building Campaign here!
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