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

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.

Mudding at Ms Susies

Mudding at Ms. Susie's house.

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Mudding at Ms. Susie's house.

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Our volunteers in Crisfield the week of Nov. 17.

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Three hard-working volunteers.

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Finishing the railing.

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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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Working on the step to a new home in Crisfield, MD.

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Carrying in the large stack of drywall.


Our client, Ms. Michelle, shares her Hurricane Sandy story with the volunteers in Crisfield, MD.


Joe works on the floor.


Some of our wonderful volunteers in Crisfield, MD.


Volunteers, friends and family gather to dedicate Ms. Susan's new MDS built home in Crisfield, MD.


Volunteers Aaron and Gene work on the floor of a new build in Crisfield, MD.

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Carrying in the large stack of drywall.


Our volunteer group the week of Dec. 12. Thank you for your service!

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Martha Zimmerman gives the Pruitt family keys to their MDS-built home in Crisfield, MD. This home replaces their home that was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.


Mark is all bundle up to cut decking.


Long-term volunteers relax playing Giant Jenga.

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LuAnna and Ralf check out the closet framing.


Marie and Jon position drywall.


Mr. Royce and Ms. Michelle's porches are complete.


Naomi and Marilyn prep the walls.


Terry and Harry work on Ms. Kathy's floor framing.


The trusses are up.


Logan inspects the trusses.


Lester measures for OSB.


Ken and Todd share a laugh.


Dinner at the Crisfield project.

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Our cook, Pean, with her helpers Kathryn and Mim.


A snowy start to the day.

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Our volunteer group Feb. 23-27.

March-2-6 2015

Our volunteer group the first week of March.


Menno cuts out for the ceiling box.


Ms. Michelle loves her new quilted wall hanging, presented to her at her home dedication service.


Working hard on siding and the porch rails.


Lauren has learned to install siding.

March-9-13 -2015

Our volunteer group the week of March 9. This group includes Penn State University students who volunteered over their spring break!

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Lesko and Kayla work on siding.


Volunteers from Shantz Mennonite Church worked hard at the Crisfield project.


Volunteers from Shantz Mennonite Church worked hard at the Crisfield project.

Gerald presents the kewys to Mr David and Mrs Donna

Project Director Gerald presents the keys to Mr. David and Mrs. Donna.

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Our volunteers the week of March 16.


Our volunteers the week of March 30.


Our wonderful volunteers the week of May 10. Thank you for your service to the people of Crisfield.


Washing the vehicles at the end of the week.


Enjoying dinner.

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Relaxing in the evening.


DMP interns install the trusses.


The trusses are going up.


Martha presents a wall hanging to Ms. Bessie.

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Ms. Charlene and Ms. Bessie share their story.

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Our volunteers the week of May 18.

Weekly Report

Weekly Report for Crisfield

May 8, 2015

It has been a great week full of interesting meetings, experiences and learnings. While some of us were on the job site a family delivered a Smith Island Cake; the rest of us got to enjoy this local treat on the traditional...[more]

Category: Crisfield, MD

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Response Statistics

MDS Crisfield

110 Lorie Quinn Dr.

PO Box 186

Crisfield, MD 21817





(717) 682-3444

(410) 968-1730





Project Director: Clete Yoder

Office Manager: Rachel Horst


Project is open.

Volunteers to Date: 984

Jobs Started: 50

Jobs Completed: 45

Information for Volunteers:








Welcome to Crisfield


Volunteer Guide



Photo and Multimedia Galleries