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Helmut Schmidt, Published March 19 2010

‘Bucks for Bags’ pays out $7,700

Fargo paid credit where it was due Thursday, handing out checks to the top sandbagging volunteer groups in the “Denny’s Bucks for Bags” program.

Topping the sandbag-making list was the Fargo School District and its hundreds of middle school and high school students. Their 2,048 volunteer hours earned $1,600.

The program, named after Mayor Dennis Walaker, was instituted to spur volunteerism. City leaders worried that after 2009’s record flood, fatigue might delay preparations for this year’s major flood. In 17 days, volunteers produced 1 million sandbags.

“We’re very proud once again” of the community’s youths, Walaker said. “They did a magnificent job.”

The top 31 groups earned $7,700 in donations by volunteering 10,525 hours. Altogether, 131 groups put in 16,447 hours.

Organizations earned $75 for every 100 sandbagging hours. Other bonuses were also available.

Rounding out the top five:

The group said it is giving the funds to YWCA of Cass-Clay.

The Spirit of Fargo Flood Fund was credited with 2,507 hours and received $1,875.

Winners were announced at the daily flood briefing at City Hall.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583