California Unit

Welcome to the MDS California Unit. 

Dear California MDS Volunteers and Supporters,

We are reaching out to all California MDSers to join in helping our neighbors in Lake Isabella, east of Bakersfield. MDS recently completed the home for one family whose hillside house burned in the 2016 Erskine Fire.  In July, we kicked off house #2 with a framing blitz on the parking lot of Bethany Church in Fresno. Now construction on this second home is underway.  

What are we asking? We need volunteers from now through the fall so this second family can be back in their home before Christmas!

Come alone, come as a couple, or get a group to travel together.  Please take this opportunity to serve right in our own backyard. Here are the roles we need to fill:

  • Project Directors – commitment of 2 to 4 weeks – past MDS experience required
  • Cooks and assistant cooks – 1 week minimum
  • General volunteers, skilled or willing to learn – commitment can range from 1 day to 1 week

Housing is provided in a 4-bedroom, 2 bath home that has been set up for volunteers. Or, volunteers may opt to bring their RV to sleep in at a nearby campground (at your own expense). All volunteers will share their meals at the MDS house.

To learn more or to sign up, contact Deanne Bell at 559-321-4353 or

Thanks for partnering with us to bring fire survivors back home. 

In His Service,

MDS California Unit Board


For a little inspiration, watch this video of how volunteers in California are impacting community members in Lake County and helping them come back home after wildfires destroyed more than 1,300 houses.

MDS and the California Unit are also working to rebuild homes in Calaveras County after wildfires destroyed nearly 500 homes in the area.

Quick Stats

California Unit Officers 

Unit Co-Chair – Roger and Lee-Ila Riley

Unit Vice Co-Chair (Northern) – Pat and Judy Powell 

Unit Vice Co-Chair (Central) – Steve and Deanne (Dee) Bell

Unit Vice Chair (Southern) – Mel Curry 

Unit Communications Vice Chair – Kathy Heinrichs Wiest

Unit Treasurer – Linda Collins

Unit Secretary – Richard Unruh

Mennonite Brethren Rep – Judy Lopez 

Brethren in Christ Rep – Roger Sharp 

Mennonite USA Rep – Merle Kauffman

News, Updates, & Events

Ukiah, CA – Weekly Report – Nov 11-15, 2019

What a busy week we had this last week here in Ukiah, California.  Our long term volunteers welcomed six men from the Hyde Park Mennonite Church in Boise, ID, a Read More…

Ukiah, CA – Weekly Report – Nov 4-8, 2019

Our new weekly volunteers for this week were Jim & Wilma Eby and Terry & Debra Miller from Washington and Kelly Wiebe from Alberta. At Gayle Zepeda’s house the two Read More…

Ukiah, CA – Weekly Report – Oct 28-Nov 1, 2019

This week was our largest crew yet.  Leon & Dianna drove in with their motor home for a week.  Ron, Rich, and Wilbur drove in from Arizona.  Thomas, Kim and Read More…

We'd love to hear from you!