Feb 26, 2022 | By John W. Coleman

Robin Bresser, of Christ UMC Lansdale, got his “first taste” of being a mission volunteer when he worked with his father for two years on Habitat for Humanity houses. When his father died, Robin kept going, partly to honor his dad. It was sort of in his blood.

Robin Bresser, ERT mission volunteer

But mostly he kept going, helping to repair and renovate homes and churches in need near and far, because he felt so fulfilled when helping others. “I just kept finding mission trips to go on,” he said. “Whenever I saw any information about a trip, I would just take it.”

Now he goes on mission team trips about three trips a year, although less during the COVID pandemic. He says the mission trips seem to find him. “Something pops up either on the internet or in a newsletter like the NEWSpirit. Or somebody sends me a message, saying ‘Hey, we’re going to do this project.’ And I’m like, ‘I’ll be there.’”

Robin, who does carpentry, installs drywall and flooring, and does some electrical work, takes time away from his job and his family to go on mission trips. He likes the team effort involved, and he feels like he’s saving or at least improving lives…including his own. In early December he joined an EPAUMC Early Response Team to help repair houses in Downingtown that were severely damaged by flooding from Hurricane Ida last September.

EPAUMC’s Project Restoration is happy to have Robin Bresser and they’re looking for more volunteers like him. The new disaster response project is recruiting volunteers to help with disaster recovery work this spring. They will work in homes damaged by Ida-caused floods and by Hurricane Isaias’ floods in August 2020 that damaged communities like Eastwick in Southwest Philadelphia.

Disaster recovery volunteers needed. Please register using form

Project Restoration, funded by a $417,000 grant from UMCOR, along with generous donations by individuals and churches, is bringing part-time staff onboard and now has begun seeking volunteers to help do crucial repairs and reconstruction to severely damaged homes beginning in late March.  Volunteers willing and able to help can register, indicating their availability and skills, by using either of two Google Docs sign-up forms—one for individuals and another for groups  Sign-up form for individuals.  Sign-up form for groups.

Denise Shelton, who became the project’s director Feb. 15, is learning systems and forging helpful connections in the diverse disaster response services community. Meanwhile, she is assessing dire needs in flood-damaged communities, including Eastwick and Coatesville. She will dispatch a small team to Eastwick in late March and hopes to have more teams working in Coatesville by April, with other communities soon to follow in May.

Meanwhile, the Rev. Allen Keller will start working as the project’s case manager March 1, to aid survivors whose homes are in disrepair and who have unmet needs and may be still displaced from their homes. The conference hopes to complete the project’s management team by hiring a construction project manager soon.