Lupe and Roxy Sanchez know the impact volunteers can make. They are both Mennonite Disaster Service home recipients and project volunteers.
They made the 20-hour drive in November from their home in Bloomington, Texas, to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, where they volunteered to install electrical panel boxes for a new volunteer center.
The center, being built through a partnership with MDS and the Pine Ridge Long Term Recovery Committee, will help accommodate volunteers who continue to serve in the community, home to some 38,000 Oglala Lakota. MDS has been helping people recover from storms there since 2017.
After the Sanchez family lost their home to Hurricane Harvey in 2017, MDS crews built them a new residence two years later. Since then, Lupe Sanchez, an electrician, has been hired by MDS to wire additional homes built by volunteers in Texas.
The family decided to express their gratitude to MDS by volunteering at Pine Ridge. The couple were joined by their children, both in their 20s.
“I’m glad my son and daughter came with us, because the work was heavy,” said Lupe Sanchez. “We set up panels, and Roxy cooked for us all.”
Alyssa Sanchez, Lupe and Roxy’s daughter, said it was a volunteer experience she’ll never forget.
“It was a great trip, and I will go back,” she said. “There’s no job like it.”
Remembering a time when her family didn’t know where to turn, Roxy said being able to help someone else in need has a deep meaning. In fact, the hardest aspect of the trip was having to leave, she said.