Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Editorial News
Classified Sites


Manitoba Mennonites ready to help in Alberta

FLOOD-STRICKEN downtown Calgary has reopened its doors, but there's still a long road ahead and Manitobans are ready to help.

Janet Plenert is the leader of Mennonite Disaster Service, a national faith-based organization headquartered in Winnipeg that responds to disasters in both Canada and the United States.

"We rebuild the homes and then give the keys back. We delight in helping," she said.

Plenert has travelled to Alberta communities such as Calgary, Medicine Hat and Black Diamond to see where the organization can take its tool kits.

"When everyone else leaves, we stay and offer free labour," she said. "We stay long-term and rebuild for people who need it, for people who fall through the cracks."

Plenert said MDS often helps seniors, immigrants and people with disabilities rebuild their homes.

The Christian organization has between 750 and 800 volunteers a year from Canada and the U.S. who help communities that have been affected by a natural disaster.

"We get a lot of people who come out and volunteer from Manitoba," she said "People need an extra hand, otherwise their lives will be turned upside down."

MDS has not yet decided how many volunteers they'll need to help in the aftermath of the Alberta flooding. Volunteers will spend a week to six months rebuilding.

In the past, they have slept anywhere from schools to churches to parking lots.

"Relationships are formed between homeowners and volunteers because we take time to talk to them and hear their stories," said Evelyn Peters-Rojas, project co-ordinator for MDS. "We sit down and have coffee with them because a relationship is just as important as building a home."

MDS networks through churches and recovery committees to see which families are most affected by the natural disaster, while other volunteers will head straight to the streets to clean up.

The organization has been in Minot, N.D., for the past two years since the flood in 2011 and is overseeing the reconstruction of five to six houses.


-- Elizabeth Fraser

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.


Make text: Larger | Smaller

2017 Brandon Sun Community Leader Awards
Brandon Sun - Readers Choice Results
Why Not Minot?

Social Media