Mike McGarvin, the founder of the Poverello House homeless shelter in downtown Fresno who was known by many affectionately as “Papa Mike,” was honored Friday at a memorial by those he was dedicated to serving.
Shane Guthrey, formerly homeless, told the standing-room-only crowd how McGarvin’s helped him get a positive direction for their lives. He now works at the Poverello.
Others touched a photo of him that was set up, saying thanks aloud for how he had supported them.
McGarvin helped thousands of people get off the streets of Fresno since 1973, when he started serving peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches out of the back of his car after he worked a production shift at The Fresno Bee. That led to the creation of the Poverello House, which opened its first physical location a year later in downtown. The nonprofit now provides homeless people with shelter, support services, programs, and 1,600 hot meals a day.