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Storm Encounter experience comes to Shafter

Mennonite Disaster Service is presenting "The Storm Encounter" in Shafter next Wednesday, aiming to raise awareness about its disaster relief efforts. The multisensory exhibit is a mobile movie theater that allows eight visitors at a time to "experience" a violent storm through a seven-minute video, augmented by surround sound, rumbling vibrations, blowing wind and misty rain. Visitors also receive a close-up look at the raw devastation caused by a major disaster – the Greensburg, Kan., tornado – and the many MDS volunteers who helped to clean up and rebuild the community.

Organizers hope the eye-opening experience leads people to volunteer and help them with their projects intended to help families recover from natural disasters across the U.S.

The Storm Encounter will be presented on Wednesday, May 31, at the Shafter Mennonite Brethren Church, 400 Kern St.. The event is free. The total experience is approximately 10 minutes long. There is no need to sign up.

The project was begun by Scott Hartman, director of event planning for the Mennonite Church USA, with the goal of creating a mobile display. Kevin King, executive director of MDS, said that Hartman encouraged him to develop something interactive to present at MennoCon19, which was a national gathering of Mennonite Churches. MDS is a volunteer network of churches with a mission to respond in Christian love to those affected by disasters in Canada and the United States,

"This is an important project," King said. "The number of major disasters has dramatically increased and the need for assistance is growing."


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