International Women’s Leadership Honoree “Unsung Shero”

Mercedes Ayala has been an interior design professional for over 25 years, and working with Jeffrey Michaels, a high end showroom, for the past 15 years. She serves in various capacities at her local church, Calvary Chapel Plantation. Recently, she was appointed as a deaconess at her church, a responsibility to use her gifts to serve the needs of the church. She and her husband, Marty, started a street outreach program three years ago called the Luke 14 Homeless Outreach to serve the homeless of Broward County. Their labor of love began at Stranahan Park with a group of volunteers who fed the homeless and prayed for the hurting on a recurring basis. The goal was not only to provide physical food, but also to provide spiritual and emotional nourishment by bringing hope, love, and words of encouragement to them.   With the help and support of her church and Hope South Florida, volunteers began serving the homeless at Christ Community Church in Pompano. Today, they are transported there and attend a teaching and a sit-down meal biweekly. Donated clothing and toiletries are provided, but most importantly, they are served with love and compassion.

As an extension of the outreach, many in need both locally and internationally are supported- families in crisis, veterans, single mothers living with children in cars, and most recently, Venezuelan families desperate for help as a result of the humanitarian crisis in their country. The ministry’s newest project is to collect and ship food & hygiene products to those impacted by the crisis taking place in Venezuela.