As locals tirelessly pack sandbags and gather supplies in Manitoba, Red Cross volunteers are preparing to act as a lifeline between evacuees.

The rising water level of the Red River threatens nearly 200 homes, with the potential to displace residents by mid-week.

Praying for the best, though anticipating the worst, Edmonton chaplain Marj Pettinger prepared yesterday for a two-week mission to help out in the flood zone.

“We are, all of us, body, soul, and spirit,” she said. “I think helping others in need is part of who we were created to be — no man is an island.”

Pettinger will join nearly 50 Red Cross volunteers who have descended upon Manitoba.

“This is the time when people’s heart-strings are pulled and they want to get involved — we can always use more hands,” she said.

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