By Rachel Slavik, WCCO-TV

HASTINGS, Minn. (WCCO) — Hundreds of volunteers spent Saturday morning in Hastings filling sandbags to protect homes near the Mississippi River, which hit flood stage Friday night.

Hastings resident Randy Roberts know that for those who live in a river front town, spring can be the toughest time of year.

“I know what it’s like to have your home flooded, to see other people have their homes flooded,” said Roberts, who lived through major flooding in Missouri in 1993.

However, spring can also be a time when a community is at it’s best.

Several Hastings churches put out the word to fill sandbags over the weekend. Organizers planned for about 200 volunteers, but Saturday’s turnout had more than 400.

“I think we have about 500 volunteers working their hearts out,” said Pat Walker, of the Hastings United Methodist Church.

More than 100 of those volunteers helped Diane Tuttle protect her childhood home along the Mississippi River.

“We’ve sand bagged twice in the past. We’ve had help, but never to this extreme,” Tuttle said. “It’s incredible that these people are so willing to help out.”

With the swift running Mississippi not far away, volunteers only had to look over their shoulders for a reminder of why everyone’s help will be needed in the coming days.

“This says a lot about Hastings. They always come to the plate when it comes to helping people,” Roberts said.

The Mississippi River is expected to hit major flood stage before it crests at 19 feet next weekend.


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