Mid-Atlantic District volunteers work with Brethren Disaster Ministries to restore a home for Christmas

By Jenn Dorsch-Messler

A group of Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers from the Church of the Brethren’s Mid-Atlantic District served in Somerset County, Md., this week to help restore a home before Christmas. The family who owns this house was one of more than 200 families affected by tidal flooding in October 2021 in Maryland’s Dorchester and Somerset Counties, located on the Chesapeake Bay.

The flooding occurred when an unnamed storm caused a high tide to flood residents’ homes. This is an example of a low-attention disaster–a new phenomenon across the country–meaning there has been very little media coverage about it. The number of impacted families may be smaller than in bigger events that received a federal or state disaster declaration, but the interruption and need for recovery support is still great, especially for the most vulnerable in the area.

Work on this home and others by Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers has taken place periodically since July.

The work is supported financially by a grant that Brethren Disaster Ministries received from Lowes through the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD). The award included $30,000 in Lowes gift cards to purchase the construction materials for this home and three others. Funds included with this grant also covered the volunteer housing and support to provide the labor to complete the work.

Now, 14 months after the flooding, this home is repaired and restored thanks to the service of volunteers. The volunteer group leader, Dave Jupin of Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren, reported that the homeowner “said that her Christmas had come early with the kitchen renovation.”

Two more homes are scheduled to be completed in this area of Maryland in January 2023. For information on how to volunteer with this local response, contact Jeff McKee, Mid-Atlantic District disaster coordinator, at jamckee26@msn.com.

— Jenn Dorsch-Messler is director of Brethren Disaster Ministries. Find out more about this Church of the Brethren ministry at www.brethren.org/bdm.

Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers from Mid-Atlantic District completed work on a home in Somerset County, Md., in time for Christmas. They repaired a kitchen floor and a bathroom and installed countertops, a faucet, a dishwasher, a toilet, and new trim. Photos by Dave Jupin.

Above: Lou and Nancy hard at work. Below: The completed kitchen.

Please pray… With gratitude to God for the Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers from Mid-Atlantic District who completed repairs on a home in time for Christmas, and for blessings to the family that they have helped.

Photos of Mid-Atlantic District volunteers by Dave Jupin.


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