Volunteers come to aid of Dominican town

By February 9, 2009

USA (MNN) — Three months after Hurricane Noel slammed into the Dominican Republic and nearly destroyed the small town of Pimentel, Youth for Christ volunteers are helping residents rebuild.

"We are just doing the work that needs to be done," said David Maier, a volunteer with the Youth for Christ chapter in Baltimore City, Maryland. "The people were plunged into desperate situations."

Food shipments delivered by relief agencies after the November 2007 storm have been consumed, plumbing is nonexistent, and disease runs rampant. With help from the Dominican Republic government, residents of Pimentel are rebuilding the town on higher ground less vulnerable to flooding. YFC volunteers recently collected food, supplies and furniture to help residents rebuild. Forty-foot crates filled with donated cabinets, furniture, clothes and hundreds of pounds of rice were packed by the volunteers and shipped to Pimentel.

The connection between Pimentel and Baltimore City formed over a decade ago when a Baltimore area volunteer met a Pimentel pastor while traveling in the Dominican Republic. Since then, YFC volunteers have traveled to Pimentel each year, providing medical clinics, helping with projects and digging wells. The visit to a developing country can be a "life-changing" experience for Baltimore City youth.

"It's a pretty powerful impact on their lives," said Rob Benson, a coordinator for Maryland Metro Youth for Christ.

If you'd like to learn more about the outreach of Maryland Metro Youth for Christ, visit their Web site by clicking here.

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