At 15 years old, David Doyle lost his father. David’s wife Anita also lost her father; she was just 11 when he died. David and Anita both had three siblings. And they both witnessed their widowed mothers’ struggle to carry on.
Their story doesn’t end there. Today, David and Anita Doyle work to relieve the anguish of families who have lost husbands and fathers.
“I tell people, ‘It’s personal to us,’” Doyle said. “Anita and I both saw what it was like for our mothers to suddenly be the sole providers for four kids.”
Missing Man Ministry (M3) steps in to ease widows’ burdens by offering services that include grief care, financial planning, car repairs and yardwork.
On Sunday, Oct. 6, M3 is hosting its 8th Annual Missing Man Ministry fall dinner banquet to benefit widows and fatherless children. The event is set for 5 to 8:30 p.m. at Cornerstone Fellowship, 348 Canyons Pkwy., Livermore.
“My true ‘nirvana,’ if you will, is seeing everybody in one place, gathered for a common cause — to support these women,” David Doyle said. “Some are in the audience, and of course more are in our future. One just never knows.”
Despite the gravity of the M3 mission, the annual fundraising banquet is both moving and uplifting.
“It’s festive, because everybody there, for the most part, knows about our nonprofit and our mission. They’re there to hear what we’ve been doing since last year, and they really like to hear the stories about who we’ve helped,” Doyle said. “It’s a celebration, knowing that we’re there to help.”
Doors open at 4:30 p.m. for registration, bidding on silent auction items, and shopping the live auction items. During dinner, catered by Cabana Dave’s, speakers share their stories. Particularly touching are those shared by widows and by college students who have received scholarships.
Tickets are $75, and are available either online in advance or at the door.
“One hundred percent of the money raised goes directly to our clients,” Doyle said. “None of the board members accept pay for this mission.”
Along with a handful of board members, more than 100 volunteers carry out the work of M3, with each individual case beginning with financial planning to assess the family’s immediate and long-term needs.
“Even in 2019, when the catastrophic event of losing a spouse happens, many women don’t know whether they’re broke or in good shape financially,” Doyle said.
Each year, around 170 people have attended the banquet. This year, Doyle is hoping for 200.
“After the sudden, heartbreaking loss of their husbands, many women have to fight through shock and sadness to pick up the pieces of their lives for their children. Losing a life partner can mean they don’t have anyone to turn to, to help sort through the rubble and rebuild,” he said. “I hope banquet attendees go home with memories of how they helped. In some cases, they’ll go home with silent or live auction items. But going home with the memories of helping someone is priceless.”
To learn more, visit www.missingmanministry.org.