A volunteer run initiative is seeing success this winter and currently accepting applications for those in need of assistance with snow.
‘Snow Angels’ a Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) program sees volunteers joining forces to assist seniors or individuals with disabilities to shovel snow from side walks and drive ways.
The ‘Adopt-A-Driveway’ program has been operating in town for the past five years and currently has a high supply of volunteers willing to lend a helping hand. Due to the strength in volunteerism shown with the program they are currently accepting more applications from those in need.
Individuals, organizations, businesses, classrooms, families and youth groups can commit to removing snow from the driveways of those in need. Volunteers are matched with residents in need of snow clearing in their neighbourhood.
FCSS Volunteer Centre Coordinator, Jody Davis, explained the organization is hoping to help as many seniors in need as possible. She added the show of volunteerism this winter has been extremely heart warming.
“There is definitely a need for this program in our community and it means so much to those who are receiving assistance. It can make all the difference in some one’s life,” said Davis.
Ashten Fenwick, life long resident of Sylvan Lake, has been a volunteer Snow Angel in Sylvan Lake for a number of years. She explained her want to join the program came from seeing seniors in her area shovelling on their own.
“It’s one of those things for me – I just can’t not do it. I just can’t watch some one shovel snow who is older,” said Fenwick. “Just knowing there are people out there who can’t shovel their own sidewalks and can’t afford to pay some one to do it. I have time on my minds and thought why not.”
Fenwick explained she has been helping others in her neighbourhood long before their was an official Snow Angels program, however one year she was reading through the Town of Sylvan Lake’s Community Guide and saw a feature on the program.
“I thought to myself – I could do that,” she explained, adding she shovels a number of houses in the Westwood area and if there is a large enough snow fall she will use her neighbour’s snow blower to do all of the area. “I figured I could shovel a few driveways. Thery’re all close to my house and it gets me out.”
Fenwick not only does a number of houses through the Snow Angels program, she shovels a number of her neighbours sidewalks and driveways who work out of town frequently, those who are sick or experiencing illness and a number of seniors in her neighbourhood who don’t qualify for Snow Angels due to their income.
“I get so many smiles, waves and thank you’s from people in the neighbourhood – even the occasional batch of cookies,” she detailed on what keeps her shovelling away. “It’s a nice warm feeling in your heart knowing you helped some one out and knowing they’re not going to slip or fall.”
Davis and Fenwick agree that adopting a driveway is a fun and healthy opportunity for citizens of all ages to enjoy the outdoors while making a personal contribution to improving the quality of life of another in need. Involvement in this program fosters a sense of ownership and goodwill, encourages civic responsibility and pride in the community while building appreciation and connection between citizens of all ages.
Studies have shown that when citizens actively work together for each other, crime decreases, health improves, resources can be redistributed, and quality of life becomes better for all.
Currently those eligible to apply for assistance include: Seniors and individuals with disabilities who fall below the income range of $24,600 a year or couples who fall below $40,000 a year.
For more information on Snow Angels contact:
Sylvan Lake Family and Community Support Services
4725 43rd Street
Sylvan Lake, AB T4S 1M3
Phone: (403) 887-1137 ext. 233