By Garrett Simmons
After a snowstorm rips through the area, driveways and sidewalks in communities across southern Alberta often become very treacherous.
It can take hours of long, hard work to clear significant accumulations of snow. Not everyone is up to that task, and in particular, some senior citizens often struggle to keep their property free of snow.
But for those in Vauxhall, help is on the way through a new program set up through Family and Community Support Services.
“For many senior citizens, shoveling snow after a heavy snowfall is something they cannot physically do,” said Renee White, Senior Services co-ordinator, at FCSS. “Unfortunately, some do not have family members or friends able to help them out.”
With that in mind, FCSS Volunteer and Senior Services is excited to pilot a new program for the Vauxhall senior community, which will start in the new year.
The Snow Angel Program is a voluntary snow-removal service for eligible seniors that are over the age of 65.
“The goal of the Snow Angel program is to match residents who are physically unable to keep their sidewalks and driveways clear of snow, with volunteers who would like to help their community,” said White. “Volunteers are matched with a senior for the duration of the winter season, to clear the snow after a significant snowfall.”
Winter can certainly be unpredictable in southern Alberta, with frequent freeze-and-thaw cycles that create unsafe conditions for walking.
The hope is, the Snow Angel Program will benefit everyone that likes to get out for a winter walk.
“This will help keep the neighbourhood and the residents safer with more accessible sidewalks,” said White.
Safer sidewalks is just one goal, according to White, who added the program also gives community members an opportunity to venture outside and get some fresh air.
“We encourage individuals, families, youth groups, service clubs and school gym classes to get out, get some exercise and help someone in their neighbourhood.”
This program will start in January 2021. Seniors unable to shovel, who have no one to help them keep their sidewalks clear, can register for the program by calling White at 587-370-8518, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers who would like to participate can register through Cindy Lauwen at 403-915-7063, or by emailing cindy.lauwen@ fcss.ca.