To place your ad, email email@example.com. Ads start at $1 per day, minimum seven days.
Members of the Young Rotarians of District 7305 help unload donations at McKeesport Agape Center. The charity, located on Lincoln Way in White Oak, opened a cafe in September. (Young Rotarians of District 7305 via Facebook)
When Kelly Doyle opened McKeesport Agape Center in 2019, she knew she wanted to love and serve her community like God.
In September, Kelly and her husband Mike expanded their mission by opening a restaurant, Cheese and MAC Café.
“The more people knew about us, the more requests we got. Our needs and cost kept going up, so we needed a way to raise funds. Plus, it’s a good play on words,” Doyle said.
Located on Lincoln Way next to PNC Bank, Cheese and MAC Café serves breakfast sandwiches, pastries, bagels, fudge, cheesecake and more. All the proceeds go to the McKeesport Agape Center.
Doyle’s mission has remained the same over the years: to provide food and other services for anyone who needs them.
Doyle was inspired to establish McKeesport Agape Center after seeing a high demand for social services online.
“I was the admin of the Facebook group ‘What’s Happening in White Oak,’” Doyle said. “I saw that we were getting a lot of social service-related questions; people telling us they were out of food and things like that. We then started collecting and delivering food for shut-ins, the elderly and those without cars.”
Most of the people served by the Agape Center come from Mon Valley communities, such as McKeesport, Duquesne, Glassport, Dravosburg, Clairton, North Versailles Twp. and White Oak.
The word “agape” means “to love like God.” That, Doyle says, is central to the center’s mission.
“We aim to love like God — openly, happily. We never judge people, and we always take their word.”
Along with collecting and distributing food, the center delivers Easter baskets, Christmas presents, household items and hot meals to veterans – all for free. The center also partnered with social workers in the McKeesport school district to provide personal hygiene items to students.
According to Doyle, social workers from the McKeesport school district reached out to Agape asking where they could find personal hygiene items for their students, leading to the creation of the Sweet Teens program.
The center also offers resume writing workshops, job placement and counseling services.
But as the victories increase, so do the challenges. Doyle admits that business in the restaurant has been slow.
“The people who know us keep coming back, but hardly anyone knows. Getting the word out about the restaurant is my main plan for the future.”
In the meantime, Agape continues to provide social services for anyone who needs them.
“We’re always just a text away, six days a week, and we’re accepting volunteers. We hope to link people to other social services so maybe they won’t need us — but we help as many people as possible,” Doyle said.
To learn more about McKeesport Agape Center and its mission, visit them online or call (412) 874-2158.
Originally published October 18, 2021.