EAST CAPE GIRARDEAU (WSIL) — A huge community effort on Wednesday in one river town to keep rising waters from flooding homes and businesses.
The Mississippi River is expected to rise more than four feet before cresting next Wednesday.
The rising water is already creeping closer to buildings in East Cape Girardeau, just off of Route 146.
The last time the Village of East Cape Girardeau had to fill sandbags for flooding was six years ago.
With the recent rainfall and the rising Mississippi river, Mayor Joe Aden had to call for immediate help on Wednesday to keep the village hall from flooding.
"They answered the call," Aden said. "I don’t know what we would do without our young people."
People from near and far shoveled sand and packed bags.
Piling them high in hopes of stopping rising water from creeping into East Cape Girardeau Village Hall.
"The river was up, it kept raining up north and of course it comes this way and we are paying for it now," Aden said.
A post on Facebook Wednesday afternoon asked for anyone who was able to help fill sandbag to meet at village hall.
Dozens of people answered the call.
"We have friends who are actually living in the houses that are going to get flooded, so if there’s anyway we can help, we will," Shawnee High School Junior Jayclynn Presutty said.
Mariah Faire is also a student at Shawnee High School student. Neither Presutty nor Faire live in East Cape, but an announcement during lunch at school sent them to the village.
"They told us after we eat, we can go and help," Faire said.
Dozens of high school students joined the effort by leaving school to sandbag.
"These wonderful high school kids are saving us," Aden said.
But not all the volunteers were students.
"For a bunch of kids, they are working pretty hard," Volunteer Josh Cowsert said while laughing. "I wouldn’t have done it when I was a high school kid, certainly not as a volunteer."
Cowsert lives 15 minutes from East Cape in Thebes.
"Everyone in southern Illinois is the same kind of people," Cowsert said. "If my house was flooding they would probably be up sandbagging in the hills."
Aden is keeping his faith, and said just like six years ago, his village will be okay.
"But the Good Lord will carry us," Aden said.
Aden said in order for the flood waters to go down, they need the flood gate to open in Gale, about four miles south of East Cape.
That flood gate is not expected to open until the Mississippi River recedes.
The principal of Shawnee High School told News 3 students are excused from class on Thursday to continue to help sandbag.
If you want to help, city officials will start at 9 a.m. Thursday morning at East Cape Girardeau Hall on Brookwood Street.