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Volunteer Fatigue May Mean Trouble for Sandbag Central - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Volunteer Fatigue May Mean Trouble for Sandbag Central

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The dust has settled for today, but more help is needed... A lot more help is needed.

With the potential for the fourth major flood in the last five years, some through out the valley are tiring of hearing the same calls to action.

Valley News Team's Hope Hanselman checks into what this "volunteer fatigue" is doing to flood preparations.

Volunteers exceeded expectations today, producing 10,000 more than the 100,000 sandbags organizers hoped for.

But, they say it might not have happened without the help from school kids.

Overall, volunteer numbers are way down.

Hundreds of thousands of sandbags lie in wait, while hundreds of hands stand idle.

"Earlier it sounded like they didn't need other volunteers besides the schools, but they actually do," Janet Wendel, a volunteer from Fargo, said.

Janet isn't sitting this one out. She says she's been fighting the flood since '97 and volunteering at Sandbag Central has become tradition.

"Every time I see a semi loaded with those bags I get chocked up and I just have to come out," she said.

But not many are thinking the way she is. During volunteer slots between 3pm and 7pm, organizers say they're only getting about 40 to 50 people sign up. They say they can handle 300.

One of these machines, known as 'spiders', makes 6,000 bags an hour but that's nothing. There are two more machines not even running.

"I'd like to see the rest of the spiders going," Janet said.

Organizers say they're only getting a sixth of the volunteers they need.

"I think there might be some complacency in the community because snow banks are disappearing and we're not really seeing water move right now," Terry Lundlum, coordinator, said.

Viewers made their arguments on Facebook.

Jennifer on Facebook says, "force the people with the river views to do all the work. It is their homes they want saved."

And Randy said, "... It's the refusal of people who live by the river to move and allow a permanent levee... They refuse to helps. I'm not helping them."

Still, Janet joined dozens of others in filling, bagging and stacking sand while fighting, beating and stopping their fears.

"It's our city, we have to protect our city," Janet said. "I guess I'd never give up, I'm not going to stop."

If you're not on board with volunteering yet, organizers say nothing is wasted effort.

They've learned how to save bags for at least two years, so volunteering your help now will pay off, if not this year.

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