Mennonites dig in to help Minden residents
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | June 1, 2017
It’s a Saturday afternoon and a team of volunteers with the Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) are busy removing mould-covered drywall from a home on Anson Street.
As of Monday, more than 30 volunteers had been to about a dozen homes damaged by last month’s flood. They arrived on May 26—the day the reeve lifted the state of emergency.
“It’s not as many [homes] as we had originally thought,” said volunteer Nick Hamm. “It looks like a lot of people are looking after their own needs.”
In many cases, friends, family and neighbours of those affected have pitched in to help.
“That’s what we want to see,” he said.
Floodwaters from the Gull River and reservoir lakes sent the township into a state of emergency early last month.
The MDS has been helping flood victims with mucking out, drying out, and removing debris and placing it curbside for pick-up. Their services are free to homeowners, especially “those with unmet needs, including no or insufficient insurance,” states a township press release.
The group is a volunteer network of Anabaptist churches that responds when disasters strike in Canada and the U.S. Volunteers in Minden travelled from the Waterloo region, Niagara and Lindsay, said Hamm.
They spent an average of eight hours per day at homes on Anson, Water Street, Invergordon Avenue and Orde Street.
The most severely damaged home had four feet of water pumped out of it, according to Hamm. Others have “small water issues.”
On Tuesday, he said they could be wrapping their cleanup efforts as early as Wednesday of this week.
However, they might send a busload of Amish members to remove sandbags from homes and return them to the township.
During the flood of 2013, MDS volunteers were helping residents in Fenelon Falls. Their partner group, Samaritan’s Purse Canada, was in Minden.
Ever year, 5,000 MDS volunteers respond to disasters, said Hamm.
To learn more about the group, visit mds.mennonite.net.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.