HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - Hundreds of homes impacted by Hurricane Harvey are being repaired one by one. Out-of-state strangers are traveling to Houston to volunteer their time and skills.
"They’re cabinet makers, or they’re carpenters," said Scooter Buck. "And they’ll work until it gets dark. Show up, eat and do it again. That’s saving people thousands of dollars."
Buck, who is leading the Harvey Relief Volunteer Group for Cypress United Methodist says some Amish men first came to Houston nearly six months ago to help the community.
"Next thing we know they started talking to neighbors and friends and relatives," said Tony McCollum, pastor at Cypress United Methodist. "And now there’s kind of a lottery system to see who gets to come to Texas."
In the last five months, about 600 Amish or Mennonite men and women have flown or driven to Houston.
They've come from California to New York and every state in between. They've tackled 120 homes so far.
"We’ve treated for mold. We’ve hung insulation. We’ve hung sheetrock," McCollum said. "We’ve taped, we’ve floated, we’ve textured and we’re painting walls."
Buck says it's a savings of about $2,000 for each homeowner.
"The Mennonites, they’re committed to come, as long as we want them to come and we have work for them," said Buck. "Just when I think we’re going to run out of homes, we’ll get two or three. We’ve gone as far as down Memorial, to Spring."
Teams of Amish and Mennonite volunteers are scheduled to travel to Cypress through May. Volunteer efforts will break during the summer, because that's when the Amish and Mennonites tend to their crops. Volunteers will then return in September and help Houston rebuild into 2019.
The donations for supplies have come in from across the country.
The church also relies on donations to feed the volunteers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Since Harvey, the church has handed out 10,000 meals to volunteers. Cypress United Methodist Church is hoping local restaurants can help with meals.
If you need help with your home, or would like to donate or volunteer click here.