Regina's Snow Angel program enters 3rd year of clearing sidewalks for those who can't

·3 min read
Cathedral Snow Angels is a city-supported, community initiative that matches volunteer shovellers with people in the community who are physically unable to shovel, or can't afford to pay someone to do the work. (CBC - image credit)
Cathedral Snow Angels is a city-supported, community initiative that matches volunteer shovellers with people in the community who are physically unable to shovel, or can't afford to pay someone to do the work. (CBC - image credit)

A large snow dump can be intimidating and frustrating for people who can't shovel their walkways or sidewalks — until the snow angels swoop in.

Cathedral Snow Angels is a city-supported, community initiative that matches volunteer shovelers with people in Regina's Cathedral community who are unable to shovel. It began as a pilot project in 2019 and is now entering its third season, after a snowstorm pummelled most of the province this week.

Linda Rattray, office administrator for the Cathedral Area Community Association, said most of the requests come from seniors, people with physical disabilities or temporary injuries, and people who can't afford to pay someone to shovel their walks.

Volunteers come from all around the neighbourhood, and there are even a few from other parts of the city, she said.

"People feel good when they do good for others," she said, noting some lessons can be learned along the way as well.

"We have some volunteers that volunteer as a family. I think that it teaches kids the value of volunteering and paying it forward."

The community association also offers prizes to volunteers, but she thinks "that's very low on the list of why people volunteer to do this."

Not only does the program help people in need, but Rattray said it also demonstrates how people in the Cathedral community pride themselves on helping each other.

As an example, she said one of the snow angels was shovelling at her assigned house when she saw an elderly man who was struggling to shovel his walks. She decided to add his house to the one she was already assigned to.

'One of the reasons I love living in Cathedral'

But it's not just volunteers in the program who help with shovelling duties around the neighbourhood.

Rattray said a request came in from a woman who needed help, but there were no volunteers available. So Rattray called a board member with the community association, who arranged for three families to split the shovelling duties at the woman's house.

"It really warms my heart," said Rattray.

"That's one of the reasons I love living in Cathedral. I mean, maybe it's the same way everywhere, but it just seems everybody bands together. It's like living in a little town rather than the middle of a big city, or a fairly big city."

The volunteer work doesn't go unnoticed by people who need help, she said.

"Everybody is just so appreciative and it just makes them so happy to know that a stranger is willing to help them out."

Regina recently passed a bylaw that will require all property owners, as of January, to clear their sidewalks within 48 hours of a snowfall.

People who want to volunteer for the Snow Angel program or put in a request for help can do so on the Cathedral Village website.

Other people stepping up

Snow Angels only serves people in the Cathedral neighbourhood due to limited resources, but people in other parts of the city have also been helping their neighbours and family members with shovelling duties

"I picked up a shovel and I went over to our neighbour, and I just started shoveling snow," said eight-year-old Kayden Kleisinger, who has been shovelling snow with his dad, Chad Kleisinger, in the Lakeview neighbourhood.

Kayden said he has been helping his grandparents shovel as well.

"It makes them really happy and makes their job a lot easier."

Submitted by Chad Kleisinger
Submitted by Chad Kleisinger

Chad said although Kayden is only eight, he sometimes helps operate the snow blower — especially after a large snowfall.

"It's kind of fun to see him work it and want to do it. A lot of people don't," he said.

"He's not really a video game man. He likes to get out and be in the outdoors, so I think it's great."

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