Michael Doyle was orphaned at the age of twelve.
His mother left him a legacy. She taught Michael, by example, to serve people through the local church. “If you needed water, if you needed a meal, if you needed to be connected, that was Mom. Our church was her charging station…everything radiated from that church.”
In 2011, at the age of 65, Michael faced his own mortality.
At the Tampa General Hospital, in end stage renal failure, Michael cried out to God, “Get me out of this mess and I’ll dedicate the rest of my days to serving you, in honor of my mom.”
Slowly, Michael’s health improved.
As it did, he began volunteering at a local food pantry. However, Michael became disillusioned with the “Band-Aid solutions” the pantry offered that weren’t “budging the needle on poverty”. Michael wanted to offer hope beyond poverty not “Band-Aids” to poverty; he didn’t know where to start.
That’s when Michael was invited to tour a Love In the Name of Christ in Minnesota where he saw, “trained, motivated church volunteers crossing denominational lines leaving dogma at the door with a true spirit of joy.” Immediately he knew, “We were onto something.”
After his visit, Michael reached out to Love INC National and started the process of bringing a Love INC to Tampa, Florida. As he began meeting with churches and social service agencies to share the mission of Love INC, Michael realized, “It was generally agreed that the missing component of addressing poverty was the churches and their resources.” Michael gained community-wide momentum.
Michael’s health continued to fail again and again. However, his hope for Tampa remained steady. In April of 2017, Love INC of Metro Tampa opened its doors.
“What was regarded as the missing component, we’re delivering on and the involvement of the Church dramatically changes what’s going on in Tampa. There’s not a resource in town we can’t find if churches want to be part of the solution.” Not only that but, “only the church can provide the loving relationships that we provide. The transformation we’re seeing in guests, churches, and the community is mind boggling.”
Michael’s mother left him a legacy. She taught him, by example, to serve people through the local church. Now Michael, Love INC, and invested local churches are “budging the needle on poverty” in Tampa.
Local Love INCs provide central contact points for those seeking help. Love INCs do not replace local Christian churches, but instead mobilize them to effectively identify and respond to community needs – together – across denominational lines. Through the partnership of churches and their volunteers, people with need receive: goods, services, meaningful relationships, and opportunities to learn, grow, and transform.