Duluth Harbor Mission
"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." Heb. 6:19
The Birth of Duluth Harbor Mission
Veronica J Gannucci-Ciurleo
Duluth Harbor Mission Inc.
Ten years ago I moved back to Duluth due to an unexpected divorce. After living in a country setting for 20 years, I found myself struggling on how to fit into ‘city’ life. I often told people, “I feel like I’m living in a camp ground.“ Frankly, I didn’t’ know how to live; I didn’t want to live. I was broken and had no purpose. I prayed, “God do something with me. Help me. Burden my heart for this area or I will not survive.” Remembering that years before I prayed, “God increase my territory.” I think this is where one could say, be careful what you pray for.
I soon began doing street ministry work, jail ministry with women inmates at St Louis County jail and volunteering at the Northland Campus of Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge. My eyes were opened to hurting, broken and addicted people all over the city along with adults that would be freed from incarceration with nowhere to go and no resources. With those circumstances on their mind, they lose hope. They fall back into the same thing that got them sent away in the first place and their cycle continues. Also, as a school bus driver I saw tired, angry, hurting children. During a recent Saturday outreach we served more children than adults! They come in alone and hungry. These are children left to fend for themselves because their parents’ priorities are lost in darkness. It’s terribly sad.
What I have seen and heard over the past 6 years of ministry work, along with a strong prompting from the Lord, has stirred me to move to take all of my life’s experiences and roll them up into one effective ministry for the addicted, weary and hopeless in the City of Duluth. This is how Duluth Harbor Mission (DHM) was birthed. Today, with an outstanding Board of Directors and a great team of volunteers, Duluth Harbor Mission is committed to see souls that not only survive but thrive. We believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is life changing and has the power to break the chains of bondage in addiction, depression, anger, rejection, poverty, domestic abuse and the list goes on. We don’t want to just care for the needy; we want to see lives transformed. Most of us involved with Duluth Harbor Mission have had life changing, born again experiences that have allowed huge victories in our own lives. We know God is faithful to those who cry out to Him.
Our short term vision is a small building working as a soup kitchen that will include overnight accommodations and a few programs to build relationships with the men, women and children that will use our facility. Our long term vision includes a shelter along with two supportive housing units, one for men and one for women that have both come out of incarceration or come off the streets and are looking for a new start. DHM will offer life courses such as job training, computer skills, cooking classes, sewing classes, discipleship classes and money management. We will help with the college enrollment process for those who want to go back to school. Our vision includes a daycare so that parents can accomplish their goals knowing that their children are in a safe nurturing environment. Our vision also includes an emergency shelter that is vitally needed in Duluth for children who are removed from an unsafe situation. Duluth has not enough space for the children being pulled from crack houses or a home where the adults have just been arrested. A neat way to see what we will look like is to visit the web site of the Twin Cities Union Gospel Mission or the web site of Pacific Garden Mission. These two facilities are running the same programming that DHM will offer. We have visited both places, toured their facilities, met with staff, talked over programs and have been completely blessed with ongoing communication. There is simply too much to say. However, the bottom line is this: Our hearts are burdened for the people of this city. We know that typically the homeless and most people who live in the dark world of chemical dependency do not go into churches but they will come to a mission. They will come for a meal or free diapers for baby and hygiene items. They will stop in for a cup of coffee.
I no longer pray for my territory to be increased but my wisdom and the wisdom of our board of directors and our staff as we press on giving God all the Glory. I pray for hope to fill the hearts of the hurting people through the power of Jesus Christ. I pray for the children.
All for Him and in Love,
Recognized by the MN Attorney General’s Office as a Charitable Organization with a 501(c)(3).
Any and all business pertaining to the formation and continued operation of Duluth Harbor Mission Inc. is available upon request.