Brethren Disaster Ministries begins work at new rebuilding project site in Detroit




Brethren Disaster Ministries received help from Shenandoah District volunteers to clean up and move equipment as it closed a rebuilding site in West Virginia and opened a new site in Detroit, Mich.: (from left) Robin De Young, Brethren Disaster Ministries program assistant, and volunteers Valerie Renner and Nancy Kegley bundle up unneeded items that were donated to another charity.
Photo courtesy of Shenandoah District

Brethren Disaster Ministries received help from Shenandoah District volunteers to clean up and move equipment as it closed a rebuilding site in West Virginia and opened a new site in Detroit, Mich.: (from left) Robin De Young, Brethren Disaster Ministries program assistant, and volunteers Valerie Renner and Nancy Kegley bundle up unneeded items that were donated to another charity.

“There has been a lot going on at the BDM office over the past few weeks,” said a recent report from Brethren Disaster Ministries director Jenn Dorsch. A major new effort of Brethren Disaster Ministries is a rebuilding project in Detroit, Mich., in an area affected by flooding in August 2014.

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Also in recent weeks, the ministry closed its rebuilding project site in Harts, West Virginia. The last volunteer group left the Harts site on March 26. Shenandoah District volunteers helped move Brethren Disaster Ministries vehicles and trailers to the district’s warehouse to clean and organize them in preparation for moving them on to the new project in Michigan earlier this month.

Work in northwest Detroit is expected to continue through October. On Aug. 11, 2014, a large storm system drenched the area with up to six inches of rain in just a few hours, overwhelming many drain systems, which then flooded roadways and homes. The record one-day rainfall damaged more than 129,000 homes throughout the greater Detroit area. FEMA declared the event the worst disaster of 2014, according to a Brethren Disaster Ministries report.

“Even now, over a year and a half later, there are still families living in homes that they have not been able to clean out and sanitize on their own,” the report said. “While this might not be their primary living space, the mold that is present is a very serious health hazard, as they are still living in the houses with no other place to go.”

Brethren Disaster Ministries is working in partnership with the Northwest Detroit Recovery Project (NwDRP) which has received funding from the United Methodist Church. The Church of the Brethren will be providing volunteer labor for the work of drywall repair, painting, and basement finishing. The work also may include cleaning out basements that have been flooded, and the safe removal of flooded materials. Volunteer housing will be at St. Raphael of Brooklyn Orthodox Church in Detroit, which is a historic monastery building.

Brethren Disaster Ministries also continues a rebuilding project in the area of Loveland, Colo., and is providing volunteers to a DRSI project in South Carolina. For more information about Brethren Disaster Ministries go to www.brethren.org/bdm .

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