U.S. | Go to Canada Site
Two volunteers measuring out dry wall.Two volunteers measuring out dry wall.

What is a Weekly Volunteer?

Weekly volunteers serve at a MDS construction site to restore or rebuild homes that were damaged by disaster. You can volunteer as an individual, a couple, a family or as a group of students, retirees, and friends. (When you swing a hammer with a stranger, you’ll soon become friends.)

While MDS’s focus is on rebuilding homes, our work also restores hope as we value relationships with homeowners and local recovery committees. We welcome both experienced and less experienced volunteers. The biggest requirement is to be flexible and ready to work – there is always something for someone to do! Join us in being the hands and feet of Jesus for those impacted by disaster.

Weekly Volunteers…

  • Serve at an MDS project for 1 to 3 weeks
  • Are responsible for their own transportation to and from the MDS project
  • Receive free lodging and meals
  • Spend most of the day (Monday through Friday) working on a construction site led by a crew leader
  • Use their trade skills or learn new skills on the job
  • Are flexible and ready to serve with others
  • Work hard with a positive and Christ-like heart!

Weekly Schedule

Your week begins with an orientation on Sunday evening. You’ll learn what to expect during the week ahead, meet other volunteers and learn about the project, the homeowners and the local community.

Monday through Friday

06:30 AMBreakfast & devotions

07:45 AMHead to worksite

12:00 PMEat packed lunch at the site

4:00 PMClean up and return to base

6:00 PMEat supper

7:30 PMFree time or sharing time

10:00 PMBedtime

Fridays are spent cleaning up the camp and supplies. Head home on Friday evening or Saturday morning.

Visit our online calendar to view weekly volunteer opportunities and to indicate your interest in serving with MDS. For more information call 800-241-8111 or contact our Coordinator for Weekly Volunteers.

Learn more about a typical week of service and what to expect by reading the MDS Volunteer Guide!

Volunteer with us!

Help us respond, rebuild and restore in the wake of disaster. No previous skills or experience needed.

Volunteer Now

Weekly Volunteer FAQs

Weekly volunteers serve as individuals or groups on an MDS construction site for one to three weeks, aiding in the repairing or rebuilding of homes that were damaged by a natural disaster. MDS Leadership Volunteers (ex. Project Director, Crew Leaders, Office Manager, Cooks) serve for at least a month at a time and are responsible for the day to day operations of an MDS project. For weekly volunteers, much of each day is spent working on a construction site, guided by an MDS Crew Leader.

Weekly volunteers arrive to the MDS base on late Sunday afternoon for the weekly MDS orientation. The work week is from Monday through Friday (Friday afternoons are spent cleaning up the camp and supplies). Volunteers can leave on Friday evening or Saturday morning, depending on travel plans. Please view the daily schedule in the MDS Volunteer Guide (page 9).

MDS welcomes both skilled and unskilled volunteers to serve, though specific projects may require a certain level of skill or experience. Whether you have worked in construction for many years or have never picked up a hammer, the biggest requirement is to be flexible and ready to work – there is always something for everyone to do!

We do recommend that volunteers are at least age 15 to serve at an MDS project, due to safety precautions and the general nature of construction work. However, with the prior approval of the Project Director that is serving on site, we occasionally have volunteers younger than age 15 serve at a project, if fully supervised by a parent/guardian and with the understanding that there would be some restrictions on work that minors can do. All volunteers under age 18 must have a parent/guardian complete a minor release form to serve with MDS if unaccompanied by a parent/guardian. Age/minor policies may vary per MDS program.

While Mennonite Disaster Service is a volunteer network of Anabaptist churches dedicated to responding to natural and man-made disasters in Canada and the United States, we gladly welcome volunteers of all denominations and faith backgrounds. Volunteers are drawn together for the common cause to love and serve our neighbors.

Weekly volunteers are responsible for the cost of their transportation to the MDS project base, as well as coordinating travel arrangements. Lodging and food are provided at no cost to the volunteer during their time of service. MDS bases vary per project, and may range from campsites, churches, houses, etc. Weekly volunteers should expect to share bunkrooms by gender – there are not private rooms for couples. The consensus is that MDS food is incredible! If you do have a specific food allergy or dietary needs, please note this ahead of time on your volunteer registration so that our MDS cooks can accommodate your needs.

Complete the MDS Weekly Volunteer Registration at least one month before volunteering, whether online or by paper form. If crossing an international border to volunteer, you will also need to complete border crossing information for your MDS border crossing letter. Communicate with the Coordinator for Weekly Volunteers with any scheduling questions or changes.

Volunteers should confirm that tetanus shots are up to date before volunteering – no additional shots are required. MDS suggests that volunteers check with their health care plan to make sure they have coverage for the location where they will be serving. If the plan does not provide coverage for the location, MDS recommends that volunteers purchase additional health care coverage. Volunteers will assume liability for any costs related to health care and accident costs they may incur while serving with MDS.

Weekly volunteers should bring clothes and shoes that follow the MDS dress code. Volunteers are also required to bring bedding, towels, and a pillow to use during the week. Tools are provided, but volunteers may bring personal tools if preferred. Find the full packing list and dress code requirements in the MDS Volunteer Guide (pages 7 and 12).

Volunteers may or may not have any interaction with the homeowners that that they are serving. If you do get this opportunity, a listening ear is often appreciated. Remember to be respectful when interacting with community members and other volunteers that may have differing lifestyles and beliefs from your own. Be prepared to be flexible and come with a serving heart!