Kimball Township nonprofit helps more than 64,000 families over 12 years
Over the 12 years of Harbor Impact Ministries’ operation, the organization has helped approximately 64,800 families, estimates co-director Barbara Hanneke.
“And that’s an understatement,” she said. “It’s low.”
She founded the organization years ago after having had an experience that shook her. She worked in a church and when asked what they had done for the community, she and the pastor couldn’t think of anything.
“I was heartbroken for being so far from where I needed to be,” Hanneke said.
So when she felt God was calling her to start Harbor Impact Ministries, she did.
She’s been a teacher and a paralegal, but being the director of Harbor Impact Ministries “was the most righteous thing I have done in my life,” she said.
People have helped over the years
Harbor Impact Ministries shares a building with the Blue Water Free Methodist Church at 1963 Allen Road in Kimball Township, operating out of the former Sparlingville Elementary School.
According to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, the organization became an official nonprofit in 2017.
Hanneke said the organization helped 1,700 people in one month of August and estimated that, on average, the nonprofit has helped around 450 people per month since its inception.
The association has specific impact days when people are encouraged to receive its services and on an impact day it can help 490 to 560 families, she said.
“It’s like touching a lot of people, a lot of stomachs,” Hanneke said.
She said most of the people they help are below the federal poverty line, but the association is not demanding proof. She just asks people to look them in the eye and say they need help.
“It’s the honor system here,” she said.
She’s worried that someone will take advantage of the system, but if a few do, it’s always worth it.
“We are ready for 15 people to take advantage of us so that we can serve 85 people who really need us,” she said.
People like Randy Shafer, a resident of the Township of Port Huron who has a fixed income from Social Security.
“This is where I belong, right here,” he said.
He doesn’t have any money to buy clothes right now, so he doesn’t shop. Instead, he goes to Harbor Impact Ministries.
He has been given jackets, pants, shirts, hats, gloves, shoes, whatever he needs.
“For me, this is my home,” he said.
What Harbor Impact Ministries offers
Hanneke said the nonprofit offers many things that a Bridge card won’t buy, such as laundry detergents and hygiene products.
Here are some of the different rooms and services offered by the association:
- Health care support: Services provided by a local nurse practitioner, including blood pressure testing, health counseling, and provision of available medical supplies like insulin.
- Bear necessities: Customers can obtain laundry and dish detergents, cleaning and paper products, and personal hygiene products.
- Baby pantry: Clothing, accessories, equipment and diapers for families with infants and young children and pregnant women aged 7 to 9 months.
- This-n-This store: Linens, kitchen utensils, general supplies, trinkets and lots of surprises. Here, customers can get the items they really need as well as small treasures.
- Resource Center: Tutoring for students and adults, literacy, citizenship preparation, Spanish lessons, IT use and support, resume writing, internet job application help, notary services, preparation of patient advocacy forms and medical directives.
Everything is free for guests and on impact days people can also get their COVID-19 shots at the nonprofit, Hanneke said.
“We will try to have what you need,” she said.
Moving forward and how people can help
Hanneke said people can find what the nonprofit needs on its website. There is often a need for blankets, sheets, pots and pans.
The money donated is used to buy food, diapers and necessities for the bears and most other items are donated, she said.
“So when people give us money, they can be sure it will go to struggling people in the community who don’t have other resources,” she said.
Nonprofit co-director Michael Weaver said the nonprofit hopes to continue to grow and is working to secure funding for a 10ft by 14ft cooler so it can store milk daily. , eggs and cheese for the guests.
He said he does this job to meet people’s needs, to see their faces when they get something they really need and don’t expect.
“We know we are doing what God has asked us to do here,” Weaver said.
Harbor Impact Ministries is open 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. People can contact the association at (810) 662-3936 and [email protected]
The association has two more days of impact in 2021, November 30 and December 14. Impact days in 2022 are scheduled for January 25, February 22, March 29, April 26, May 24, June 28, July 26, August. Sep 30, 27, Oct 25, Nov 29 and Dec 20