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LITITZ, Pa. – When Mennonite Disaster Service Executive Director Kevin King learned Catholic Charities was in need of 10,000 additional masks to help keep employees and volunteers safe, he wondered if MDS could help.

After all, the two organizations have a long and rich history of working together to respond to disasters.

“Time and time again, we have worked together to rebuild hope and restore lives,” said King, noting that often meant funding from Catholic Charities to support volunteers serving with MDS.

MDS was in a good position to help; since March 13, when the organization closed all its projects due to COVID-19 safety concerns, volunteers had been finding new ways to respond by making masks.

“Volunteers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia have been making masks for first responders, front-line workers and others,” said King, adding that it also fit the need for Catholic Charities.

When Larry Stoner, Operations Coordinator for MDS Region 1 (eastern U.S.) learned of the need from Catholic Charities, he invited Kim Burgo, Vice President of Disaster Operations for Catholic Charities, to come to Lancaster, Pa. to get the 10,000 masks.

“It’s rewarding to be able to supply Catholic Charities with these masks because they have given so much to MDS,” said Stoner. “It’s good to give them something for all they have done for our volunteers.”

This was the second time MDS provided masks to Catholic Charities; the organization provided them with 4,000 masks in April.

Projects managed by MDS staff in Canada and the U.S. are closed due to COVID-19 safety concerns and will remain closed through the summer. Projects will reopen when we can determine that is safe to do so. 

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