The Hugging Prayer Lady; Bangor's Very Own Saint

Bangor, ME — December 20, 2019

The Hugging Prayer Lady; Bangor’s Very Own Saint

You can’t see a halo or wings when you look at Tina Jakacky, but if you ask anyone who knows her, they’ll say it’s just because they’re invisible.

Ten years ago, Jakacky accompanied a mission group to New York City. They walked the streets of NY, handing out food and supplies to the city’s homeless population. That experience inspired her to get involved here at home.

Jakacky is a member of two Bangor churches, the River Church on Center Street and The Biker Church (Brick Church) on Union Street. She enjoys retirement by spending the majority of her time volunteering for organizations connected to the two churches.

On Sunday mornings, Jakacky leads worship at The Biker Church, singing and playing her guitar. Afterwards, she heads over to services at The River Church. Later Sunday afternoons, she participates in the River Church bible study group.

Every Monday Jakacky can be found volunteering at the Hermon Baptist Church with Samaritan Inc. Samaritan Inc operates food cupboards six days a week, at different area churches (Jakacky also attends Samaritan Inc board meetings). She spends every Monday evening on the Bangor waterfront with a group called Jericho Road, where members hand out food and necessities to Bangor’s homeless.

On Wednesdays Jakacky can be found volunteering for Samaritan Inc’s food cupboard at the River Church. After the long day is over, she loads her car with any leftover food, and delivers it to The Biker Church, where they provide two meals a day and a 24/7 warming center.

One Friday a month (and filling in as needed), from 9pm to 1am, Jakacky walks the streets of downtown Bangor with “Street Pastors” for their weekly ministry. Street Pastors is a worldwide organization that originated in London, with only two groups here in the U.S.; Chico, California, and Bangor, Maine. The Bangor Street Pastors visit the warming shelters at The Biker Church and the Bangor Homeless Shelter, and walk all around downtown Bangor. They speak with people on the streets and patrons of downtown businesses. They hand out bottles of water and snacks to anyone who needs them, and provide taxi vouchers for bar patrons who are too intoxicated to drive.

Jakacky also provides primary care for her live-in 88-year-old mother. Days she is not busy volunteering or taking care of her mother, Jakacky spends collecting and delivering donations to The Storehouse. The Storehouse is located in The Biker Church, and provides free clothing, food, necessities, household items, and Christmas gifts to people in need.

Jakacky sees many of the same faces at all of her volunteer locations, and that community has fondly named her “Tina the Hugging Prayer Lady.” She always greets and leaves people with a hug and a prayer (only if it is welcomed, of course). But she insists, “I’m not there to preach. I’m just there to make sure they are safe, and to help them in any way I can.”

Please consider volunteering, or even just sharing this article.
All of these organizations need more volunteers, and they can always use donations.
For information and how you can get involved:

Samaritan Inc:  200-4747
The Storehouse: 
The River Church:  990-1711
The Biker Church (Union Street Brick Church):  989-5401

Street Pastors: