Two years after Staten Island, NY, was devastated by the winds and water of Hurricane Sandy, Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) closed its project site on the island. During the two years of MDS response, over 1,400 volunteers cleaned up debris, mucked out homes, then rebuilt and restored homes and hope.
A celebration and closing ceremony was held in Staten Island on Aug. 27. Representatives of partner organizations, clients and volunteers celebrated the work and the restoration of hope for many homeowners.
MDS had many partner organizations in Staten Island, including the Siller Foundation, which provided the funding for many projects, New York Disaster Interfaith Services, ARC of Greater New York, the Oasis Christian Center Church and the American Red Cross.
Homeowner Rebecca Pellicano, shared about having her home, and hope, rebuilt by MDS. “I had lost all hope…and I became bitter and I blamed God.” She told about her eventual contact with the Siller Foundation and subsequent contact with MDS.
Speaking about the MDS volunteers, she added, “And the people that I met helped bring me back home, not just to (my house), but back into the arms of God…The love of Christ shined out of every single person that walked into my home. Every nail that went into the wall, every screw, every stroke of the paintbrush, the love of God filled my home.”
MDS continues active rebuilding projects in Jamestown, CO and High River, AB. Projects in Crisfield, MD, Far Rockaway, NY, Hattiesburg, MS and Pensacola, FL will reopen in October.
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