Local town becomes Spring Break destination!

By Drew Wilder | dwilder@wcia.com, Gary Brode | gbrode@wcia.com

Published 03/24 2014 01:26PM

Updated 03/24 2014 06:15PM

Update: 4:07 pm, 3/24/14, Monday
GIFFORD -- There are some new faces in town this week. College kids from Minnesota are taking an alternative Spring Break to help clean up. WCIA-3's Drew Wilder shows us how they're Taking Action.

"There's glass and nails just everywhere. There's a lot of sticks and shingles, roof shingles, glass, nails. It's amazing what you find when you're up."

Which is exactly what these college kids are doing and have done each year since Hurricane Katrina. St. Olaf College, in Minnesota, sends bus loads of kids each Spring Break to wherever they're needed. In this yard, they're raking up debris and hauling it to the curb.

"It's not always obvious where everything's at, but I wish we'd taken a before and after picture. There's at least twenty bags worth per yard."

There is a before picture. It's the images the entire country saw on the news last November. The after picture is a work in progress these kids are helping paint.

"We saw the devastation on the news and we started calling people in southwestern Illinois and got in contact with the people here."

Now here, they split into three groups to comb through Gifford.

"We're just working from one end of the town to the other."

"I personally want to instill in these guys what it means to be part of a community."

What does it mean to be part of a community?

"That means doing our part in times like this. When I say, 'community,' I mean national community, even though we're two states away, we can still respond when nature hits us or hits our neighbors."

St. Olaf College has groups in Washington and Peoria. All of the teams are here through the week.
Original: 10:48 pm, 3/23/14, Sunday
GIFFORD -- Cancun, Panama City and South Padre are just some of the most popular Spring Break spots this year. Gifford didn't make the list, but for 38 college students from Minnesota, that's where they'll spend their vacation.

Sunday, they finished up working with a pizza dinner at St. Paul's Lutheran Church. All week, they'll be raking debris from lawns. This is the ninth year the group has donated its time to helping people affected by natural disasters.

There are another two groups of students in Washington and Peoria. Last year, they went to New York to help with Hurricane Sandy relief.

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