Current News

2019 Midwest Flooding Response

March 26, 2019

What is the MDS response to the flooding in the Midwest? (NE, IA, WI)

MDS is actively monitoring the situation across the Midwest, especially the hard hit areas of Nebraska and Iowa.

Local MDS volunteers are actively responding with cleanup/muck out crews in Nebraska.

MDS is working with local emergency management officials, local community leaders and partner disaster response agencies to determine where to respond.

Scope of the disaster

Flooding in the Midwest, primarily Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin; came on the heels of a massive storm, being referred to as a ‘bomb cyclone’. It brought with it heavy rain and snow. This, mixed with a sudden warm up, has resulted in rapid snow and ice melt causing massive flooding.

Flooding covers the Missouri and Mississippi river basins. In Nebraska the worst flooding is on the Missouri and Platte rivers.

80 cities/towns and 67 counties in Nebraska have issued emergency declarations

42 counties in Iowa have issued emergency declarations

Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts is calling it the “most widespread disaster we have had in our state’s history.”

Numerous levees and dikes have failed, including the Spencer dam on the Niobrara River in Nebraska.

Countless roads and bridges are washed out and/or damaged in Nebraska, cutting off whole communities.

Click here to read an article about response efforts in The Mennonite: Mennonites respond to historic Nebraska flooding

How can I volunteer?

Right now MDS is looking for local volunteers who can drive into the affected areas. If this meets your availability and interest for Nebraska, please contact Leroy Janzen 402.806.0094.  All other areas, contact Jeff Koller 717.823.7415 or Wayne Stucky 785.554.8756.

MDS also has a number of open project locations that we encourage those who would like to volunteer to consider as well. For those who are interested, click on the “Volunteer” button, and then scroll down to fill out the form.  

How can I donate? There are two ways to donate to MDS:

  1. Click on the blue “Donate” button (“Donate (USD)” for US donations or Donate (CAD)” for Canadian donations). Then from the dropdown menu, select “2019 Midwest Flooding”.
  2. I would prefer to send a check, Please mail cash/checks, payable to “Mennonite Disaster Service” with “2019 Midwest Flooding” on the memo line to: Mennonite Disaster Service, 583 Airport Rd, Lititz, PA 17543 

What does MDS do with the donations?

Your gifts help MDS clean-up, repair and rebuild homes in the disaster-affected areas. Donations cover the costs of tools, equipment and vehicles and support volunteers with food, accommodations and transportation to the work site.  

 How much of my contribution goes to the cleanup/recovery effort?

90 cents of each dollar goes to the Midwest flooding effort. 10 cents of each dollar goes to support administrative costs. This includes hired staff who help coordinate volunteers, manage operations and tools and equipment, manage the receipt of donations, keep the public informed and connected to MDS, and help resource our volunteers on the ground

Is MDS accepting clothing, food, water and other material aid?

MDS is unable to accept material aid gifts. Cash is best. You don’t have to inventory it, warehouse it, ship it or sort it. Plus, it stimulates the local economy to make local purchases.

 Do we only help Mennonites? Do you have to be a Mennonite to volunteer?

We are a faith-based organization, but we help anyone regardless of their faith. MDS gives priority to those with unmet needs and who, without assistance, would not have the means to recover. Also, one does not need to be Mennonite or express a statement of faith in order to volunteer.