Volunteers needed in two new hosting sites
The face of volunteer village hosting is changing. While the blue plastic “pods” dotted the landscapes of Mississippi and Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina, the sites are now more often church fellowship halls, mobile bunkhouses, or other arrangements.
Several Presbyterian congregations are offering space for volunteers serving in short term disaster recovery mission to bunk, eat, and meet together at the end of their work days. But Presbyterians are also working together with other faith partners and organizations to effectively help communities as they recover and rebuild.
Two examples of newly opened ecumenical hosting sites are Hope Village in North Dakota and Faith Village in Texas.
Last June, 2011, the Souris (or Mouse) River overflowed its banks, destroying or extensively damaging more than 4,100 homes in Minot, North Dakota. A recent survey of displaced residents found fewer than 18 percent of the flooded homes occupied. The remainder of the people surveyed indicated they stay in trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), with family or friends, or in new residences — or they move out of town.
Hope Village, an ecumenical volunteer site, officially opened April 9, 2012, on the Our Savior Lutheran Church campus in Minot. The site will host volunteer work teams willing to help with repair and rebuilding of homes.
The $20 per day per person fee covers the cost of bunk-style lodging and 3 meals per day, as well as access to shower houses, restrooms, a laundry unit, a dining tent, and campfire grounds. The village can host up to 250 volunteers per night, and recreational vehicle hookups are available.
Some observers view Hope Village, the first ecumenical, cooperative venture of this scope, as a possible model for future disaster response across the United States.
- Watch a video about Hope Village.
- Call (855) 720-9804 for information or to schedule your volunteer work team’s mission trip through Hope Village.
In September 2011, the most destructive wildfire event in Texas history destroyed more than 1,600 homes in Bastrop County. Volunteers are needed to help with rebuilding, which is often from the ground up, as well as restoration of areas of sensitive habitat.
In this village located 45 miles east of the great destination city of Austin, Baptist, Episcopalian, Methodist, and Presbyterian congregations have each had a hand in the start-up and running of the village, located on the site of the First Baptist Church in Smithville, Texas.
The $20 per day per person fee includes lodging and groceries. Similar to previous villages, mission teams share responsibility for food preparation and clean up. Housing is provided in a gymnasium with dividing screens with bunk beds and cots, and restrooms and showers are available.
- Read an article from the Smithville Times about the new village.
- Register your team online, or contact the village for more information by email or phone at (775) 848-0766.
Many other sites are requesting volunteers to help with disaster recovery. Please visit the PDA work teams page or contact the PDA Call Center at (866) 732-6121 to find out where your team can offer your skills.