I just completed a three hour shift filling and moving sandbags. Volunteers were bused to various sites around the area to fill sandbags, load bags, move bags, open bags, and then to place them along the river line behind various homes. We are all still waiting for an accurate update on how our specific area is doing. So far all we have heard is, “cautiously optimistic.” We still need help sandbagging, the last count was only a fourth of the 2 million we will need to hold back the river.Thankfully, we have until Friday before the river is supposed to crest. We have gotten less rainfall than predicted, but it is supposed to snow. A couple more areas in the Red River Valley have voluntary evacuations and others are begging for help with sandbagging. Some neighboring towns are letting their schools out early so their students can come help.
So what is sandbagging like? The site I was at had piles of sand on the road (I did not bring my giant camera, but if I go back out, I’ll have someone come and take pictures) and filling stations set up on saw horses. The funnel was an inverted traffic cone with the top cut off. The sandbags are similar to rice sacks. These bags are filled about 1/2 full with sand then placed in an area to be loaded onto a truck or trailer. They are then delivered to various homes where more volunteers help the homeowner place the sandbags along the river. Other volunteers bring food and water or offer the use of their trucks, trailers and homes. Area businesses have also been generous enough to donate food, water, pop, and coffee.
I’m really glad I helped. I’m sore, I’m tired, and I’m dirty, but I feel really warm and fuzzy inside. I hope I have an opportunity to go back out. Most sites close at 7 or 8, but there is one site filling bags overnight. Perhaps my time would be better spent protecting my basement.