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Making a Difference | Mennonite Disaster Services aid clean-up after Hurricane Michael

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Hundreds of people from Pennsylvania have been doing what they can to help cleanup from Florence in the Carolinas, and now resources are spreading even further south.

The leadership at Mennonite Disaster Services in Lititz admit Hurricane Michael took them by surprise, but they say they are ready to respond to help with immediate and long-term recovery.

"When all efforts are being focused on hurricane Florence in South and North Carolina, then wham this one comes," Kevin King, the group's executive director, explained. "

I guess that's why you call them disasters. They are unpredictable, unfriendly, they don't knock on your door and ask can we come in," King said.

Triangles on the map in King's office signify where his Mennonite Disaster teams are in place, many are scattered throughout the country for long-term disaster cleanups.

"We'll be putting some markers here showing only god knows where we'll be setting up," King said as he pointed to cities along the Florida panhandle.

There are 71 Mennonite volunteers in the Carolinas right now. King said they've cleared out 16 homes so far.

"So it's a start but there is much more to be done," King said.

He explained that only 5 to 10 percent of what the disaster service group does is immediate response. He said the bulk of it is long-term work that will have a longer lasting impact for homeowners.

At the headquarters this week, people have been busy on conference calls, planning where to send crews in Florida and Georgia.

Thankfully King said the worst destruction so far is in a different Mennonite zone than Florence.

"So we asked our folks in region two and they said yes, they'd stand up and respond to the disaster here in the panhandle," King explained, adding that zone one, the east coast essentially, is still cleaning up from five disasters.

For now, leadership will continue counting inventory, sending in one group with cleanup tools at a time.

Mennonite Disaster Services work off donations.

They are always looking for volunteers as well as monetary donations.

You can learn more about their efforts here.

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