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UPDATED: Few volunteers turn out early as sandbag filling gets under way in Moorhead, Fargo

UPDATED 3 p.m.

UPDATED 3 p.m.

Early turnout for filling sandbags was light today in Fargo and Moorhead, as the cities began the process of filling sandbags ahead of this year's expected flooding.

Fargo is aiming to make 1 million sandbags by March 17. Moorhead wants to have 300,000 sandbags ready in three weeks.

Sandbag filling began at 8 a.m. in Fargo at the city's solid waste utility building, also called Sandbag Central. By 11:30, only 23 volunteers had signed in. They were joined by about 20 Cass County Jail inmates and volunteers from the Fire Department.

That meant only one of the facility's three sandbag spider machines was operating.


Enterprise Director Bruce Grubb said the facility could easily use 200 volunteers an hour, with 60 people apiece on the sandbag spiders.

Grubb and other officials said they expected more volunteers to show up in the late afternoon and evening as North Dakota State University and local schools got out, and later still as the workday ended.

"We would be shocked if it was this light this evening," Grubb said.

Another 30 Oak Grove Lutheran School students were to join the group early in the afternoon.

Grubb said the goal for now is to put out at least 100,000 sandbags a day.

Fargo volunteers were urged to go to the Coliseum,807 17th Ave. N., where they can sign up and be bused to Sandbag Central.

Sandbagging will run 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday until the goal is met, Fargo officials said.

In Moorhead, Operations Manager Chad Martin told WDAY Radio at 7:30 a.m. that about 15 volunteers were on hand, and there's easily room - and the need for - 100 volunteers.


Volunteers are asked to report to the public works garage at 700 15th Ave. N., by the toll bridge.

Martin said he expects a bigger turnout as the day continues.

Hours for the Moorhead sandbag filling operation are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday.

A carrot for Fargo volunteers was the Denny's Bucks for Bags program.

The program, named after Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker, offers volunteer groups a chance to earn $75 for every 100 hours they accumulate, plus $50 for every 500 hours donated, and other dollar incentives.

The Fargo facility had Salvation Army volunteers on duty with food and beverages, and gloves, earplugs and eye protection was also available for volunteers who had forgotten any of those items.

Volunteer sandbagging locations

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