Responding Rebuilding Restoring

Crisfield, MD

Disaster Description

Crisfield began as a small fishing village but grew into a large city in the 1850’s after the discovery of abundant oyster beds. This discovery led John W. Crisfield to bring the Eastern Shore Railroad to the town’s seaport. Seafood was soon being shipped all over the US, and the small village became a prosperous city. By 1904, Crisfield was the second largest city in Maryland and was known as the “Seafood Capital of the World.”


As the health of the Chesapeake Bay declined, so did the prosperity of Crisfield. Currently, Crisfield is the poorest town in Somerset County, which is the poorest county in Maryland. In 2009, nearly 50% of Crisfield’s residents were living below the poverty line.


Crisfield is surrounded by salt marshes and was built on a floodplain. As Hurricane Sandy passed Maryland on October 29, 2012, a five-foot storm surge left most of the city underwater. Over 500 homes were flooded, rendering most of them unlivable.


MDS Response

In November 2012, MDS was contacted about the possibility of helping with rebuilding and recovery in Crisfield. The Delmarva unit and the Eastern Virginia unit of MDS have collaborated to respond to this need. Most of the homes that can be repaired have been gutted and dried out, and now the work includes wiring, drywall, painting, new floors, etc. It is also anticipated that in the coming months there will be multiple new homes to build. 

MDS volunteers will be housed in the old American Legion Building. Separate sleeping and bath facilities will be available for males and females and a kitchen/dining area has been added for meals.



Photo Gallery


MDS worksite in Crisfield, MD.

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MDS volunteers in Crisfield.

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MDS Project Directors, Rob and Mary, with client, Mr. Charlie.

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MDS volunteers, Lisa, Amber and Louise, working hard in Crisfield.

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Art and Willis working together in Crisfield, MD.

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Everett, Richard and Lawrence work on the siding.

Mr Charlies House

Mr. Charlie's home is near completion.

Mrs Ruths house

Mrs. Ruth's house is near completion.

1- Project-Coordinator -Ray-Zimmerman -enjoys-a-moment-with-Charlie-Adams-on-the-porch-swing-on-his-MDS-built-home-in-Crisfield -MD.

Project Coordinator Ray Zimmerman tests out the new porch swing with client Mr. Charlie.

2-Volunteer-Sarah -from-Nappanee -IN-cuts-insulation-for-a-new-home

MDS volunteer Sarah cuts insulation for a new home in Crisfield, MD.

3-volunteer-Wayne -from-Nappanee -IN-measures-his-work

MDS volunteer, Wayne Chupp, of Nappanee, IN, measures carefully on a new home in Crisfield, MD.


Ms. Ruth tests out her new porch on her MDS-built home in Crisfield, MD. Her home was dedicated one year after Hurricane Sandy hit.

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MDS volunteers work on a new house in Crisfield, MD.

Work at Mr Calvins

Work at Mr. Calvin's house.

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Work at Mr. Calvin's house.

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Mr. Calvin's house.

Week 3 volunteers

Week three volunteers.

Week 2 volunteers

Week two volunteers.

Week 1 volunteers

Week one volunteers.

ready to start framing Mr Calvins house

We are ready to start framing Mr. Calvin's house.

Mudding at Ms Susies

Mudding at Ms. Susie's house.

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Mudding at Ms. Susie's house.

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Leave your boots at the door.

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Everyone pitches in to clean up the dishes.

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Some of our volunteers in February.

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Weekly Report

Weekly Report for Crisfield

October 11, 2014

The Crisfield MDS camp is back open and ready to build more new houses! A group of 12 from the Doylestown Presbyterian church painted Ms. Jenny’s house and installed drywall and mudded at Ms. Bobbie’s house. A few of...[more]

Category: Crisfield, MD

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Response Statistics

MDS Crisfield

110 Lorie Quinn Dr.

PO Box 186

Crisfield, MD 21817











Project Director: Alvin  Graber

Office Manager: Carrie Thiessen


Project is open.

Volunteers to Date:752

Jobs Started: 45

Jobs Completed: 37

Information for Volunteers:








Welcome to Crisfield


Volunteer Guide



Photo and Multimedia Galleries