Story and photos by Andrea Bredow, Red Cross Volunteer
It was a chilly 17 degrees on Saturday morning, but the cold spring air and piles of snow did not stop the Hastings, Minnesota, community from banding together to fight the looming Mississippi River waters.
An estimated 700 volunteers spent Saturday sandbagging homes along the river. The American Red Cross Twin Cities Chapter volunteers were there as well. The Red Cross feeding vehicle, also know as the ERV, was on hand to provide hot beverages and snacks to keep volunteers warm and energized.
The call for volunteers went out early in the week and hundreds responded with shovel in hand. Family’s worked filling bags, youth groups stood in the “bucket line” delivering sandbags to homes and Scott Webber even showed up on his birthday to help.
“This is what the city of Hastings does. We help each other,” said Webber.
Webber and a hundred other volunteers were sent to surround Lloyd Fanum’s river side home with sandbags. Fanum has lived on the river for 30 years and is always overwhelmed by the communities outpouring of help.
“The boys and girls giving their weekend to help me is overwhelming! I can’t thank them enough,” said Fanum.
The army of volunteers turned out 20,000 sandbags in only four hours!
“When the neighbors are in trouble, we are ready to reach out and help,” said Patrick Walker, one of the sand bagging organizers.
Walker says they are ready to gear up the sandbagging operation at any time. If more homes along the river need help, the Hastings community will be there.
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