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Who We Are

Mennonite Disaster Service is a volunteer network of Anabaptist churches that responds in Christian love to those affected by disasters in Canada and the United States.  

While the main focus is on clean up, repair and rebuilding homes, this service touches lives and nurtures hope, faith and wholeness.

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Quilted Wall Hangings

Since November 2004, MDS house dedications include the gift of a quilted wall hanging to the new homeowners. The wall hangings are made and donated through the Mennonite Church USA Mennonite Women's group. If you are a quilter and would like more information on this program, e-mail MDS at communications(at)




Putting up the inside wall of a new cabin at the Hadashville, MB, youth project.

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Art and Willis working together in Crisfield, MD.


MDS volunteer, Walter Augsberger, gives peacock feathers from his own farm to all of the community children at the house dedication celebration in Circle, AK.


Roof repairs in Shawnee, OK.

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MDS volunteer Sarah cuts insulation for a new home in Crisfield, MD.

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MDS volunteers work on a new house in Crisfield, MD.


Ms. Ruth tests out her new porch on her MDS-built home in Crisfield, MD. Her home was dedicated one year after Hurricane Sandy hit.

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MDS volunteer, Wayne Chupp, of Nappanee, IN, measures carefully on a new home in Crisfield, MD.


Working on siding in Shawnee, OK.


Emma and Agnes with our client, Helen, at her home in Hattiesburg, MS, where the MDS crew is working.


Building Ms. Lisa's porch in Bastrop, TX.


Mr. Bill receives a quilt at his home dedication in Shawnee, OK.


Mr. Ken chats with Project Director Phil at the Shawnee, OK, project.


Marie and Wayne painting the railing at Ms. Carolyn's house in Braithwaite, LA.

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Marlene gets the fan ready for installation at an MDS built home in Bastrop, TX.

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Randy works on Ms. Ann's house in Far Rockaway, NY.


Building a bridge in Webster Springs, WV, to replace one that was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Without this bridge, the family did not have access to the road when the stream was high.


Volunteers Randy and Vern work together on Ms. Ann's house.

Federal Official Calls for Church-State Partnership in Disaster Response

by Kathy Heinrichs Wiest for Meetinghouse

 “In disasters, the church and the state need to work closely together,” said David Myers, Director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Department of Homeland Security in his address to Mennonite Disaster Service’s (MDS) Annual All-Unit Meeting.

“That statement should make the hair on the back of your neck stand up,” he added.

Myers, who serves as a senior advisor to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director Craig Fugate, spoke at MDS’s February 8 gathering in Bakersfield, California. The meeting brought together some 250 MDS leaders and volunteers from throughout the United States and Canada.

In his formal remarks and in an interview, Myers reflected on the value as well as the hazards of church and government working together.

An ordained Mennonite minister, Myers is well-aware of the tension that a church-government partnership evokes. He cited the story of the Swiss Anabaptists’ defiance of the state church control in 1525 as the “artesian well” that eventually grew into “the great and beautiful river that separates the church and the state in this country.”

His own role as a Mennonite working in government makes for regular encounters with the tension in church-state relations. “There hasn’t been a day in almost five years that I haven’t at least in some way had to negotiate the separation of church and state. That’s hard for a Mennonite to do,” he said.

But, he contended, MDS must navigate that tension because the needs of communities in times of disaster require the complementary resources the partnership provides. While government agencies bring financial resources, re-building and fostering resilience in communities requires the human presence that voluntary organizations like MDS bring.

“Humans need to feel connected, attached to others, especially when your world has been upended,” he pointed out.


Myers pointed to the government’s response to the 2009 floods in Alaska where FEMA purchased building materials in bulk for eligible survivors and helped fund travel expenses for expert volunteer labor from MDS and other Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOADs). “FEMA could have brought contractors in to do [the rebuilding] but they would not have built the relationships. And it saved the government money!”

To read entire article, click here: Church-State Partnership in Disaster Response



MDS featured in new book

Brenda Phillips, PhD, Associate Dean at Ohio University in Chillicothe, has published a new book titled “Mennonite Disaster Service and the Gulf Coast Recovery“ A long-time friend of MDS, she is a widely published author on disaster recovery and socially vulnerable populations and has received numerous awards and recognition. Phillips is donating all of the royalties of book sales to MDS. To order a book at a download an order form here or call the Binational Office, (717) 735-3536. The book will be “library quality,” so consider donating a copy to your church library.



The book has been described as an “academic study and a story—a truly engaging one—of people helping people in a very special way. This is a close up view of those who experienced the destruction of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ike and those from the Mennonite Disaster Service who came to help. Together they built a classic therapeutic community. This important book is a valuable resource not only for students and academics who will find rich empirical support for many theoretical concepts, but for anyone who wants to understand and appreciate giving and receiving in disaster recovery.”— Maureen Fordham, Northumbria University 






MDS featured on NBC Nightly News! MDS was featured on the NBC Nightly News on March 29, 2011. To see the story that features our Diamond, La. project, click on the link below:                                                                      


MDS on the News






MDS volunteers are known for repairing and rebuilding homes damaged by disasters. But it takes more than construction skills to serve with MDS. During the time that you serve as a volunteer, you will learn that MDS also restores lives.


Your contribution will help to connect volunteers with disaster survivors who need assistance on their path to recovery. MDS depends on the support of people who believe that disaster response is an important part of helping those who are in need.


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MDS Locations

Mennonite Disaster Service project locations are the physical response centers established by MDS in a disaster-affected community. In addition to housing the local MDS office, the projects function as base camps for MDS volunteers who need a place to eat and sleep while they serve. This section of the MDS website contains updated information about current MDS projects.

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More Project Information

  • Current Projects
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