A cleared walkway can make a big difference for seniors
when the snow flies — and Volunteer Kamloops’ Snow Angels program aims to make sure the white stuff is kept cleared.
The program pairs volunteer snow shovellers with Kamloops seniors living on their own who have mobility issues.
Snow Angels co-ordinator Anita Jacobsen said the program was started by Volunteer Kamloops three years ago with the concern that seniors can get trapped in their houses and lose their independence when sidewalks and driveways become inundated with snow.
“The volunteers are fantastic. They are absolutely the most loving, giving people going,” Jacobsen said. “It’s a very fulfilling job, I have to say.”
Many organizations serving Snow Angel clients won’t allow home visits if driveways aren’t clear, making the program an important service to ensure seniors receive proper care during the winter months, Jacobsen said.
Snow Angels continue to be in high demand.
Jacobsen said they have 50 volunteers shovelling driveways — some serving more than one senior — and another 30 volunteers waiting to have criminal record checks cleared.
But it’s not enough as the program has 135 seniors signed up for the service this year.
In previous years, Jacobsen said, they haven’t been able to match all of their seniors with a Snow Angel — something that doesn’t sit well with her.
“You’ve got people out there that really need the help and you just don’t have the bodies to help them,” Jacobsen said.
The program covers all areas of Kamloops and needs more volunteers in Barnhartvale, North Kamloops and Brocklehurst.
“I’ve got lots of volunteers in some areas and not many clients, and then I have tons of clients in the North Shore and Brock area and just not enough volunteers,” Jacobsen said.
She said those who volunteer come from all walks of life, including international students, retirees and full-time workers.
“It’s a real mix,” Jacobsen said, noting seniors are very appreciative to hear a Snow Angel is coming to help them.
“It’s just one less thing for them to worry about. The big fear is they fall and hurt themselves, so having someone come and take that chore out of the way is really important,” Jacobsen said.
To volunteer, call 250-372-8313 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Potestio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kamloops This Week