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From a United Methodist Church partner: “MDS a valuable part of our work”

November 11, 2021

“Being able to be a part of something of this magnitude was the best ministry experience I’ve had so far.”

That’s what Tim Whitten, who served as Hurricane Florence Recovery director for the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, wrote in a letter of appreciation to Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) for the strong partnership in South Carolina.

MDS worked together with the United Methodist Church in the Bennettsville area of South Carolina, repairing and rebuilding homes for people affected by Hurricane Florence, which struck in 2018.

Teams of people from the United Methodist Church, funded by the United Methodist Committee on Relief, handled casework and other aspects of recovery, and also pitched in to volunteer with home repairs and rebuilds—an example of faith-based disaster response organizations working together, each in their specialized areas.

As the joint effort officially came to a close in September 2021, Whitten reached out to thank MDS for working alongside the United Methodists. 

 “We ended up finishing ahead of schedule and surpassed the original goals that were outlined in the early grant requests,” he wrote.

In total, Whitten said, his team raised over $3.7 million and closed out 337 cases.

“Construction teams replaced 280 roofs and completed interior repairs in 225 homes,” he said. “MDS was such a valuable part of making the work that we did a success—and I thank you for your commitment to the people of Marlboro and Chesterfield counties.”

This was Whitten’s first experience overseeing projects in the world of disaster response and recovery and, he said, “it came at a time when I desperately needed to get outside the walls of the church.”

He found MDS volunteers and staff uplifting, saying they “provided a breath of fresh air that brought tremendous joy to all they were around.”

Whitten concluded: “According to all the measurable categories it was a successful endeavor and we could not have made it happen without your support. Thank you for being a part of it all.”