By Barbara Hanneke
(One) A miracle, involving the international bridge plaza expansion project; (Two) a merger of two churches who believed they were to love the community with a palatable, “hands on” approach; (Three) the rise of passionate leaders; and (Four) the number of people struggling in so many different ways in St. Clair County – collided and birthed a new holistic creation called Harbor Impact Ministries. It opened its door in the former Sparlingville Elementary School in June of 2010. Its mission was to meet the needs of struggling people as they defined them. One family may need tutoring for a child; one may need food for their cupboard. Another may ask for help applying for a job on a computer. A person may feel it is better for a beloved pet to go to the Humane Society and not be hungry than to stay with the owner who so desperately needs to keep it. A present-less birthday for a child may be more than a parent can bear. All of these people come to Harbor Impact Ministries for assistance and their needs are met.
Frequently, the most valuable service given by a volunteer at Harbor Impact is an explanation of something that has come in the mail and is not easily understood. Birthday gifts, tutoring, pet food, a computer lab with assistance if needed, a large portion of a variety of meats, Spanish classes, laundry detergent and personal hygiene products, a this-n-that room of pots and pan, linens and miscellaneous items, books, puzzles and games, walkers and medical supplies, diapers, and clothing in all sizes and shapes all can make a difference.
Once a month on what is called an “Impact Day,” we bring in perishables and bread and offer an array of community services. We average 450 families plus on Impact Days. Impact Day is USUALLY the last Tuesday of the month but because of holidays, there are exceptions. The schedule is always on the home page of harborimpactministries.com. All services to guests are without cost and all work is done by volunteers.
Harbor Impact Ministries
1963 Allen Road
Kimball, Mi 48060
Barb Hanneke has been the Director of Harbor Impact Ministries for eight years since its inception. She is on the Board of Directors of the Department of Health and Human Services; she leads the community service portion of the Operation Transformation Food Task Force; she is on the Emergency Food and Shelter Program committee; she is a church organist and choir director; and is a member of other community organizations. From the east coast, Ohio, and finally Michigan, Barb taught first grade, elementary school music, and was trained as a paralegal before beginning the most meaningful project of her life.
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