LITITZ, Pa. — Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) has been responding to disasters for over 70 years.
“The stories coming out are just really sad and unfortunate that some families have experienced, with quite a bit of loss of life," said Larry Stoner from the volunteer network in Lititz.
Local volunteers from MDS are heading to Florida to help respond, rebuild and restore homes after Hurricane Ian hit the area last week.
“Our main focus is home repair. It is for working families that have experienced a disaster and cannot recover on their own resources," said Stoner.
They’ve been able to assist after Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. This time, the first step in helping with Hurricane Ian's damage is assessing the situation.
Volunteers say they could set camp in spots like Fort Myers or Arcadia.
“Our main goal will be to try to find and locate families by talking to local emergency management agencies [or] talking with FEMA representatives to better understand who are the families that can recover on their own resources," said Stoner.
Once they find homes that need repair, the first step will be to remove the wet debris.
“Once that wet debris is removed, then the lumber has to be dried out, and after that, it's the repair, the rebuilding process can happen," said Stoner.
Those with Mennonite Disaster Services say they typically work on about 50 to 100 homes.