January 14, 2022
MCC B.C., MDS Canada partnering for B.C. flood relief
Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) B.C. and Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) Canada have entered into a partnership agreement to respond to the floods that hit B.C. last November.
“When the full scope of the flooding became known, it was apparent we needed more resources to help our B.C. Unit to respond,” said Ross Penner, who directs operations for MDS Canada.
Through the agreement, MCC B.C. has agreed to loan Shelley Dueck, its Church Relations and Events Manager, to MDS Canada to serve as Operations Coordinator for the flood response in the Fraser Valley.
“We are grateful MCC B.C. made Shelley available,” said Penner. “Through her church relations role, she brings good experience and contacts to help us get up and running.”
For MCC B.C. Executive Director Wayne Bremner, working with MDS Canada is a way to combine the strengths of the two organizations.
“MDS brings a special expertise in mobilizing volunteers to repair and rebuild homes, while MCC can mobilize resources,” he said. “Together we can do more.”
“MDS brings a special expertise in mobilizing volunteers to repair and rebuild homes, while MCC can mobilize resources. Together we can do more.”
— Wayne Bremner, MCC B.C. Executive Director
Although the details or timeline for the response have not been finalized, the two organizations expect to be involved in responding to needs in Princeton, where MDS Canada is already active doing clean-up, and in the Fraser Valley itself.
“It typically takes six to nine months before we can get involved in repair and rebuilding work following a disaster,” said Penner, noting it can take that long to deal with insurance claims, finalize government funding, identify eligible clients and secure volunteers and materials.
“Our goal is to look for people who fall through the cracks, especially those who are most vulnerable due to finances, age, disability or some other reason,” he said.
To date, over $600,000 has been donated for flood relief through the two organizations. “We are deeply grateful for the generosity,” said Bremner.
In addition to the flood needs, MCC B.C. and MDS Canada are also looking for ways to respond to those who lost homes to the wildfires last summer.
“We don’t want their needs to get lost in all the attention over the floods,” said Penner.
The last time the two organizations worked together was in 2017, when they responded to wildfires in the Williams Lake area of northern B.C.