WATCH: Volunteers from 8th grade to age 80 work Fargo's sandbag central

Ben Franklin eighth-grader Nick Lemier, 13, stacks bags at Sandbag Central in north Fargo on Tuesday, March 26. David Samson / The Forum
Ben Franklin eighth-grader Nick Lemier, 13, stacks bags at Sandbag Central in north Fargo on Tuesday, March 26. David Samson / The Forum

FARGO — Work kicked off Tuesday, March 26, at Fargo's sandbag central, an operation that will likely bring in volunteers by the thousands.

It looks and sounds like chaos, but the people of Fargo work together like a well oiled machine to fill sandbags in a massive, coordinated effort to protect the city.

Hundreds of volunteers of all ages worked around the "spider" sandbag-filling machines on Tuesday, starting the city's push to fill 1 million bags.

"It makes me feel great. I like to help the community," said volunteer Nick Lemier, an eighth grade student at Ben Franklin Middle School who said it's a great workout.

"It makes your heart feel good and I just hope a lot of young people come out," said volunteer Donald Voeller, an 80-year-old Fargo man. "It's so fun to stand here at the spider and see all these people shoulder-to-shoulder all laughing and smiling."

Voeller tossed sandbags like he was 18. "I've been blessed with good health. Why not use it?" he said.

Whether it's a retired farmer who refuses to "act his age" or an energetic eighth grader who gets to cut class for a day, everyone at sandbag central has one goal: keeping Fargo safe.

"I wouldn't live anywhere else. There (are) still a lot of good people in this country," Voeller said.

Both Voeller and Lemier say they're ready to work several days this week.

How to help

  • Fargo needs volunteers from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays at Sandbag Central, 2301 8th Ave. N. The city is having trouble filling morning and evening time slots. To sign up, visit www.FargoND.gov/FloodVolunteers or call 701-476-4000.
  • Moorhead's Sandbag Operations Center, 1313 30th Ave. S., opens at 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 27. Volunteers can call 218-299-5300 to register, or find more information at www.cityofmoorhead.com/flood.
  • Cass County plans to start filling sandbags at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the county highway department in West Fargo, 1201 Main Ave. Volunteers can sign up at www.casscountynd.gov or call 701-239-6700.