In May of 2003, River of Life Christian Fellowship of Port Huron incorporated a vision that is today called the Blue Water Area Rescue Mission.
As River of Life grew, members saw that there was a great need in the community to help those less fortunate. Thus, Helping Hands Ministries emerged.
Helping Hands Ministries Incorporated in January of 2008. A faith-based, non-profit organization, Helping Hands Ministries focused on meeting the needs of people in the local community and sharing the love of Jesus Christ.
In the summer of 2010, Helping Hands Ministries assumed the name of Blue Water Area Rescue Mission after becoming part of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM).
With the bad economy, high unemployment rates, loss of jobs, and home foreclosures at an all time high, Blue Water Area Rescue Mission partnered together with numerous community service and faith-based organizations to work together in bringing an end to homelessness.
In the summer of 2009 a local mission program closed, and with that 60 individuals were immediately left with nowhere to go. An additional 90-100 more people faced being left out in the cold. B-WARM and its associated community service agencies sprang into action, seeking out other mission programs, housing, or means of moving them back home.
With times as tough as they are, Pastor Arnold Koontz and his wife Debbie set out to launch a full service overnight emergency mission program. There were 8 original faith based organizations and 14 local community agencies that partnered with Helping Hands Ministries to provide the mission program starting in the Fall & Winter season of 2009.
Blue Water Area Rescue Mission provided a safe, clean, warm environment for 72 individuals in a 12-week period. Before that first season would end on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010, several other churches and local community agencies came on board, witnessing the success of the first year.
The mission represents many different Christian denominations across St. Clair County. In February of 2010 an official application for 501c3 status recognizing Helping Hands Ministries a charitable entity was granted.
Blue Water Area Rescue Mission also has a Discipleship Program for those that are looking to make life changes.
Today, Blue Water Area Rescue Mission provides an emergency shelter and mission program 7 days a week for 365 days a year for the homeless of St. Clair County.
Pastor Arnie Koontz
Debbie Koontz William Pribble