After heavy snowfalls, Snow Angels can be instrumental in helping clear pathways for seniors to safely get to and from their homes.
Run by Volunteer Terrace since 1991, the Snow Angels program has matched up seniors with volunteers to help shovel their driveways and sidewalks.
Last year, the Snow Angels program had reached their capacity with 56 seniors on the list.
The need is even greater this year, with 64 seniors in total and 15 volunteers for the season. Despite their efforts, 50 seniors are currently on the waitlist — meaning 78 per cent of seniors in the program are in need of someone to look after them this season.
“A majority of people on the list need someone,” says Lena Rothwell, seniors program coordinator for Volunteer Terrace. “If it’s hard for some of us to shovel our driveways, imagine what it must be like for a senior?”
According to Environment Canada, 43 cm of snow has fallen over the last nine days, with a winter storm expected to bring another 10-15 cm Jan. 10.
For seniors with low income or mobility challenges, shovelling snow off their driveways and walkways simply isn’t an option, making it unsafe and extremely difficult for them to leave their homes.
Rothwell says seniors living in the Horseshoe, downtown Terrace area and Thornhill are experiencing the greatest need.
While some local sports teams have volunteered to help out in the past, they haven’t been able to organize a schedule that works yet, she says. Some neighbours have stepped up to help seniors on the list in the meantime.
The snow and cold temperatures didn’t stop volunteer Terry Gresl from volunteering to clear a pathway for a resident in Thornhill Thursday.
He has been volunteering with the Snow Angels for the past six years and goes to as many houses as he can, often three or four in a day. Some can require more work than others, but he says it usually doesn’t take him long to finish a pathway.
“It’s pretty essential for some people,” he says, shovel in hand. “I think that everyone in the community should be involved in helping each other with whatever they can do. Lots of hands make little work.”
Anyone interested in volunteering for the Snow Angels program is asked to contact Lena through the Volunteer Terrace Facebook page or via phone at 250-638-1330.