Valley Voices

Vanessa Delgado: Mike McGarvin lives with passion, compassion

Mike McGarvin, known as “Papa Mike” by the homeless, founded the Poverello House, the Valley’s main nonprofit shelter for the homeless.
Mike McGarvin, known as “Papa Mike” by the homeless, founded the Poverello House, the Valley’s main nonprofit shelter for the homeless. Fresno Bee Staff Photo

Who was Mike McGarvin?

In the 1960s, Mike McGarvin was a young man who was quickly killing himself. His daily companions were drugs, alcohol, violence and hopelessness.

Then one day he saw a place in San Francisco called Poverello. Inside Poverello, there was a coffeehouse. When he went to the coffeehouse, a priest who ran it asked him to volunteer.

Volunteering for people who needed acceptance, a smile, and unconditional love changed his life. He was looking for a way to repay God for saving his life. Services to others was the answer.

McGarvin and his wife moved to Fresno after several years. Then he noticed there were many homeless people on the streets of Fresno. He began fulfilling his passion by talking to people, handing out food and drinks, and showing that he cared about them.

More and more people were coming to get help from Mike, so he rented a little place to give out food. He named it Poverello House after the place that saved him in San Francisco.

The Poverello House is now a place where people can find meals, clothing, food bags, a medical clinic, rehabilitation, overnight shelter, and social services 365 days a year.

McGarvin lives with passion and loves with compassion because he loves helping people to get through their daily lives. He also is there to help anyone who is in need or even a person to talk to.

These are some ways Mike McGarvin is a person who lives with passion and loves with compassion.

Vanessa Delgado is a sixth-grader at James Garfield Elementary School in the Selma Unified School District. She is the elementary school winner.

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