Through the efforts of the Missouri River Relief Organization, hundreds of volunteers turned out Saturday to lend a hand in cleaning up the riverbank both on the Nebraska and Iowa sides.
“Boat ride.” A morning cruise on the “Big Mo” headed north. Jodi Pfefferkorn took the lead on this trip. The so-called "river rat" knew what's lurking in the thickets ashore. “I live on the river down in Missouri and we saw the effects of the flood down there and it definitely, you see how much trash there is because the waters go up, they grab that stuff, bring it down and then they redistribute it, redeposit it."
That was the name of the game Saturday, cleaning up the banks. “We are here to do whatever we can."
Tim and Ashley Dorious volunteered with their church. Besides some extra father/daughter time, Tim said it was all about setting an example. “Having my daughter here, I think it is important for her to see how important it is to keep our environment clean, have a good time while we are doing it.”
The 8-year-old had never been on the river before. “It's worth it, totally. Because you get to ride in the boat and you get to see the Missouri River, the bridges and nature."
A lot of the staff said they were encouraged to see the number of children on the river, a new generation to help clean the Missouri. “Just seeing how enthusiastic they are about it, a lot of people might say oh, you are going to pick up trash, but no, they are pumped about it and that is exactly what we want."
“We found everything from cables, a sleeping bag, suitcase, water bottles, a thermos,” said volunteer Michelle Klassen. “I threw it in the bag."
Then it was time to head back south and to the docks where Pfefferkorn hoped the day's lessons followed volunteers to dry land. “It just means a lot to have so many people getting hands-on cleanup experience and then hopefully they take that with them back to shore."
Volunteers also received a free lunch and T-shirt for their efforts. Missouri River Relief's next stop is Kansas City in October.