A Mass of Christian Burial service for Mike McGarvin, founder of the Poverello House homeless shelter in downtown Fresno, will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 355 E. Champlain Drive, Fresno.
McGarvin died July 1 at his home on the Poverello House campus after being hospitalized in recent months for respiratory issues. He helped thousands of people get off the streets of Fresno since 1973.
The Poverello House will close its doors Wednesday for the first time in nearly 44 years in remembrance of its founder. The closure will not stop food service – sack lunches will be passed out at the shelter during normal serving times. Normal operations will resume Thursday.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be sent to the Poverello House (P.O. Box 12225 Fresno CA 93777) or made online at poverellohouse.org.
In a news obituary for McGarvin published in The Bee, former Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, now president/CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation, said that the Poverello House “has become the standard in our community for compassionate, charitable acts towards our fellow residents that need help.”
In a recent column, Bee columnist Bill McEwen said “Papa Mike” carried Fresno’s down-and-out on his broad shoulders for nearly five decades.
“He fed them when they were hungry,” McEwen wrote. “He sheltered them in the rain and the cold and the hottest days of summer. And when they sought counsel, he lifted them up with the words of Saint Francis of Assisi: Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.”