Hagen Help Center New Location Open in St. Cloud [PHOTOS]
ST. CLOUD -- A longtime St. Cloud organization has moved into a permanent home.
The Hagen Center works to help people who are homeless, needy, and hurting.
Although having been in the area for 10 years, the non-profit secured its location at 340 7th Avenue just six weeks ago. The site was previously home to Mudcastle, a small church that recently moved down to Texas.
Pastor Carolyn Hagen says she and her husband Dave started their ministry in Minneapolis in 1995 after having some struggles of their own.
There was a time when we were first married that we had to go to a food shelf, and I feel like the only time you have a right to look down on someone is when you're helping them up.
The Hagens became incorporated in 1997 and spent 12 years running a church, food shelf, and help center on Lake Street after an interaction with someone in need provided some perspective.
Well, we wanted to share Jesus because we're a Christian organization, but nobody seemed to want to help. And it started out when a homeless man said lady, why should I listen to you about your God? His direct quote was 'I'm hungry. Do you have a ham sandwich?' So, the next time I went out, I brought a bag of ham sandwiches and it turned into meeting their needs.
Hagen Center is a Swiss army knife of kindness, offering help in a variety of forms to people who come looking for it. The work addresses both physical and emotional needs by providing food, clothes, blankets, hygiene items, other assistance, prayer, worship, and community. Hagen says you do not have to be a Christian to come to the help center.
I would say we're not religious-y people here at all. I actually hate religion. Our church is called Love. So, it's about loving others and that is the most powerful force I believe in the world, love.
Hagen is a licensed counselor in addition to being an ordained minister and previously did church services, bible studies, and individual meetings with people in Oak Park Heights Prison for a number of years. She says the center is continuing that work by supporting people who are incarcerated as well as their families.
I'm not their judge. They've already had that. I'm not saying they should get out of jail and not pay their debt to society, but God is the god of not just one chance, but of many chances. I wouldn't want my worst mistake put on a billboard myself.
The center is open from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. Sundays and Wednesdays. A non-denominational church service and free meal are offered on Sundays at 10:00 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. respectively. There is also a 7:00 p.m. worship service on Wednesday nights. Children's ministry for kids ages three through twelve is available during services.
Big events coming up this holiday season include a Thanksgiving dinner at 11:45 a.m. on Sunday, November 21st, and a toy giveaway on December 19th. Anyone in need of toys for their family is asked to pre-register.
Hagen Center is also actively looking for donations and volunteers. To learn more you can visit their website at https://www.carolynhagenministries.com/.