Columbia volunteers assist with flood relief in Winfield

Friday, June 20, 2008 | 3:05 p.m. CDT; updated 5:56 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — Seven volunteers left Columbia Friday morning to make a two-hour drive to Winfield determined to do what they can for the flood relief effort.

They piled in three cars with shovels and lunch sandwiches in tow, planning to spend the day filling sandbags with others at Winfield High School.

The American Red Cross has designated the school as one of three 24-hour emergency shelters for residents in Missouri or Illinois, according to The site also says that flooding has already forced partial closure of Highway 79 in Lincoln County, where Winfield is located.

The group, in coordination with United Way, organized on short notice Thursday when an e-mail was sent out around 2 p.m. to the Barack Obama campaign listserv. Rachel Levine, the mid-Missouri regional field director for the Obama campaign insisted the effort was not a campaign event.

Volunteer Derek Nelson said the flood relief effort was simply taking advantage of the hundreds of people easily contacted by the Obama listserv.

Red Cross Shelter Manager Nancy Denninger said there were about 100 volunteers at the Winfield school, and more were expected throughout the day.

Volunteers are taking sandbags to levees that surround the town, where members of the National Guard are piling them.

The Mississippi River is expected to crest on Wednesday. One levee has already broken north of Winfield and has flooded agricultural land.

The Red Cross and the Salvation Army are providing lunches for the volunteers and said they currently have enough supplies.

The Columbia volunteers plan to go back to Winfield at 10:30 a.m. Sunday for another day of sandbagging. They will leave from 1516 Rosemary Lane . For more information, contact Rachel Levine at

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