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.

Crisfield-Nov-17-21 -2014

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.


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!


Our December volunteers. Thank you for your service!

Weekly Report

Weekly Report for Crisfield

December 5, 2014

Report for week ending 12-5-14 – Crisfield, MD Two small but determined crews set out this week to achieve great things. They succeeded beyond their own expectations as the men from Ontario (who came with very little notice to...[more]

Category: Crisfield, MD

Displaying results 2 to 2 out of 44


Response Statistics

MDS Crisfield

110 Lorie Quinn Dr.

PO Box 186

Crisfield, MD 21817











Project Director: Robert Unrau

Office Manager: Sally Unrau


Project is open.

Volunteers to Date: 898

Jobs Started: 46

Jobs Completed: 41

Information for Volunteers:








Welcome to Crisfield


Volunteer Guide



Photo and Multimedia Galleries