HASTINGS, Minn. (WCCO) — Communities all over the state are under flood warnings as Minnesota’s rivers continue to rise.

The town of Hastings has been watching the flood forecasts religiously. On Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service predicted that the Mississippi River would crest at 19.9 feet next weekend.

The city put out a call to people living in Hastings to help make sandbags, and the response was impressive.

Todd Matzke, one of the many residents who came out to Branchline Church to help make sandbag, said, “I just felt it was part of my civic duty to come out here and do something for the community.”

Hundreds of people came out to help, which is something that the city and local churches hoped for when they organized the event.

WEB EXTRA: Spring Flooding Resource Page

Paris Pasch, pastor at The Journey Church in Hastings, said he was proud of his community.

“They could be anyplace, but they have chosen to be part of the community. As a church leader, that’s what we strive for. We try to help our members see beyond the walls of our building,” Pasch said.

Hastings Mayor Mary Fasbender was impressed by the turnout as well.

“This is a community that we live to be prideful for helping others. Wherever it’s needed, we can always put a shout out and we know that people are going to be there for us,” Fasbender said.

(credit: CBS)

Gov. Tim Walz also joined the group to sandbag, along with Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan, U.S. Rep. Angie Craig, State Sen. Karla Bigham, and State Rep. Tony Jurgens. The governor said everyone needs to be prepared.

“I think residents should know again that we aren’t out of the woods yet. It seems like it’s a great day, going to be fun to get outside, walk the dog, run in the park. The water is still going to melt and it’s all going to come downstream. So stay vigilant. This is a great way to do it; the city is showing the rest of us how to do it and I’m just grateful,” Walz said.

In just a few hours, the volunteers made 11,000 sand bags. Those sandbags are going to be stored in the church parking lot until residents who need them officially request them.

Katie Steiner

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