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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)mds.mennonite.net.

 


 

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Maxine Miller prepares breakfast for MDS volunteers and is preparing to serve over 20 volunteers for dinner. The volunteers are cleaning up after tornados in Louisville, MS.

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Larry Miller, Project Director in MS, talks over the day's jobs after volunteers eat breakfast in Marshulaville, MS.

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James Young, Pastor at Calvary Apostolic Church shows Larry Miller where MDS may park their equipment. Pastor Young's church was destroyed as was much of the neighborhood.

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Three weeks after the tornado, MDS volunteers get ready for another day of heavy clean up work.

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Hundreds of people lost everything in Louisville, MS, after an EF4 tornado roared through the area in late April.

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A Mississippi home destroyed by the May tornados.

An ERT member clears a tree from a property in Lousivlle

An MDS volunteer begins to cut apart a tree on a damaged property in Mississippi.

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MDS volunteer, Larry Miller, (right) with clients, Leo and Brenda Kimber as they sign the job card for MDS volunteers to clean up their home. The home, behind them, was severely damaged by a tornado.

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A small Baptist church outside of Columbus, MS, was destroyed by a tornado. MDS volunteers will help this church community clean up.

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MDS volunteer works to remove the remains of a home destroyed by a tornado in Mississippi.

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An MDS volunteer clears trees for a homeowner whose house was destroyed by the Apr. 28 tornado in Mississippi.

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MDS volunteers work together to cut large trees to manageable sizes for removal.

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This tree removal job will take some planning.

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MDS volunteer works in Lousiville, MS, to clear downed trees.

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MDS volunteers work with heavy equipment to clear debris after the Apr. 28 tornados hit Louisville, MS.

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A prayer for safety and for the survivors of the tornado before the volunteers head out to work another day.

Yard-work

Youth volunteers clean up yards that are covered in rocks and silt.

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Wanda, head cook at Jamestown, CO, brought her granddaughter, Taylor, to be an assistant cook for a few weeks.

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Some of our hard-working volunteers in Staten Island.

Youth make MDS work part of their summer

Over 190 youth and youth sponsors from around the US and Canada gave a week of their summer to serve at one of three MDS Youth Project sites. Youth groups worked in Staten Island, NY, High River, AB, and Jamestown, CO.  

The young volunteers worked at a variety of jobs including shoveling mud and rocks out of homes in Colorado that were inundated by floodwaters in 2013, repairing homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy in Staten Island, NY, and repairing homes in High River, AB, that were flooded in 2013.

In addition to drywalling, painting, digging footers and other construction work, the youth volunteers in met homeowners and heard their inspiring stories of survival and recovery. One evening each week a homeowner would join the groups for dinner and share stories of rescue, survival, and the struggles of recovery. Homeowners expressed appreciation to the youth volunteers and told them how much their work helped even if it seemed like a only small part of a huge recovery need.

Project Directors reported that the youth groups came eager and ready to work hard and went home with some sore muscles, new friends and an understanding of the emotional, financial and physical struggles a disaster survivor must face.

 

The High River project was also home to Hesston College Disaster Management Program (DMP) Interns for eight weeks. The students complete an internship with MDS as part of the DMP curriculum, which includes construction work as well as working in leadership roles at the project. 

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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 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

Volunteer

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.

Donate

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
  • MDS Offices
  • Completed projects