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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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MDS All-Unit Meeting 2015

Feb. 13-14, 2015, Hartville, OH

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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)




Volunteers from Drayton, ON, traveled to West Seneca, NY, and cleared snow from the roof of a dairy barn after the historic snowfall in NY. -photo P. Hunt


Volunteers take a break after shoveling snow. Over 300 volunteers responded to help homeowners shovel out after the historic snowfall in New York.


Volunteers register to help shovel snow in West Seneca, NY, after the historic snowfall.


Volunteers from NY, MD and Ontario register and get job assignments in West Seneca, NY. -photo by Paul Hunt

MDS volunteers shovel snow for neighbors in need

Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) volunteers often describe their service as being “the hands and feet of Jesus”. Last weekend, those hands, and backs were working hard, shoveling the historic snowfall in New York.

Over 300 MDS volunteers armed with snow shovels descended on several snowed-in areas of New York beginning Friday, Nov 21. They worked to save roofs and help homeowners clear the massive snow drifts from their properties. Volunteers came from nearby in New York and many volunteers crossed the border from Ontario to help their neighbors in the West Seneca, NY, area. A group of 41 MDS volunteers also drove six hours from Grantsville, MD, to help with the work.

MDS Early Response Team (ERT) coordinator, Glenn Weiler, of Wolcott, NY, reported that volunteers were working in trailer courts, shoveling snow off trailer roofs. They cleared driveways and walkways for elderly and handicapped persons and did some sandbagging in preparation for possible flooding. They also worked at two farms, clearing off massive barn roofs.

Weiler reported that at the trailer park, “There were lots of elderly people and (local contractors) were charging them $400 to $800 to clean off their roofs. When we came through and did it for free, they thought we were angels. They kept asking if it was free, and what was the catch? They were flabbergasted that we would do this work for free.”

David Martin, of Drayton, ON, and a group of 27 volunteers got up early to drive to NY. Their group shoveled off the roof of a dairy barn. When asked why they came, Martin answered, “It’s a heart of compassion that brings us out to help people in need. We feel it’s part of the teaching of Christ to help our neighbors.” Even if the neighbors are two hours and a border crossing away.

MDS volunteers and ERT member Delmar Rutt, Savannah, NY, and volunteer Chris Lepp, Beamsville, ON, helped Weiler coordinate volunteers and jobs that were referred to them by local fire companies, the Red Cross, NY Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) and a local agricultural organization. The help was a relief for homeowners who faced the seemingly insurmountable task of removing up to six feet of snow from their properties. The volunteers were thanked over and over again, and the messages of thanks continue to pour into the MDS Facebook page.


MDS continues to be in touch with local officials to respond to future needs.


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

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