Mennonite Disaster Services deploys volunteers to Texas


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The generous spirit of Kansans comes as no surprise in any disaster, as groups deploy to Texas for Harvey aftermath.

Locally, Mennonite Disaster Services deployed several investigators to the southeast Texas area to best assess which community is best suited for their help. Jeff Koller, the regional director for this area, explains their two-pronged approach to helping communities in disaster:

“One is an early response which would be clean up, muck out, tree removal, that kind of thing immediately after. Then there’s usually a gap of time while local communities gather their resources before rebuilding starts. So a few months later, we usually get involved with repairing and rebuilding homes,” Koller said.

Mennonite Disaster Services often works alongside similar organizations in times of disaster, namely, Southern Baptist disaster relief and Catholic Charities.

“It gives us the best utilization of who has what available, some folks have a lot more money and some folks have a lot more people and manpower labor. And some have extensive tool options to bring in,” Koller said.

Koller says MDS is heavy on volunteers. Pooling resources with other partners allows them to best utilize their extensive time in disaster zones.

“It’s rare after a storm that anyone gets fully restored, but we do our best to get them back to feeling like they’re home again as soon as they can,” Koller said.

As mentioned, MDS stays in the community for long after the waves of disaster go through. Koller said, MDS was present in the south for seven years after Katrina, rebuilding.

Stay tuned to KSN for updates on local volunteers helping with aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

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