Thanks to Tom Curtin, the Snow Angels will live to shovel another day in Chatham.
Curtin is taking over the program from Bev Perrin, who hung up her halo and snow scoop after last year’s long winter.
Perrin had asked for someone to come forward to run the program, where volunteer shovellers help seniors keep their walkways and driveways clear. Curtin said he opted to step up.
“I waited to see if someone would step forward. I called her and she said not one person had responded,” he said. “I know it’s important to have an advocate for seniors and who helps them out.”
Curtin sees the Snow Angel program as beneficial for seniors who can’t, or shouldn’t, shovel.
“I have a mother who is 90. I have to get over there by 8 o’clock in the morning or she’s out there doing it,” he said of shovelling.
He added many seniors want to maintain their independence, and find it difficult to swallow their pride and ask for aid.
“My main concern is they could get hurt. There’s a sincere effort on their part for them to be independent, but there is a time when they can’t do things themselves,” Curtin said.
Last year, the Snow Angels had about 60 seniors who used their services. They were, however, short on volunteers. Curtin would like to pad those volunteer numbers by 12 to 15 people. He’s even contacted the local school boards, asking them to post a request for volunteers in student services departments.
So far, the responses have been decent. Curtin said entire families are stepping up.
“What I’m getting are parents calling, saying, ‘My kid needs to do this. If you find someone in our neighbourhood who needs this, we’ll be there,’” he said.
Snow Angels can be teens or adults – basically anyone high school aged and older, Curtin said. Volunteers have to be committed to consistently hitting the Snow Angels pledge to clear a person’s walkway and driveway within 24 hours following a snowfall in excess of five centimetres.
“The most important thing is the volunteers need to be reliable. Seniors are a fairly vulnerable population. They rely on a commitment from people,” he said. “And those who are committed are appreciated.”
To volunteer, contact Curtin at 519-354-9546 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For seniors looking for assistance, the contact information is the same.
“We’re certainly willing to take on new clients if they don’t have a relative, neighbour or friend who is willing to help them. And they must be over 65,” Curtin said.