Efforts to help seniors and people that need a little extra help digging out from winter storms are seeking volunteers with strong backs.
Northglenn, Thornton and Westminster all keep lists of volunteers who’ll agree to shovel snow at homes of …
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Northglenn, Thornton and Westminster all keep lists of volunteers who’ll agree to shovel snow at homes of people that can’t after winter storms. The need continues to grow each year for Northglenn’s volunteer-based Snow Stormers program.
“Each city, including us, has a hard time finding volunteers, “said Margo Aldrich, communications manager for the City of Northglenn. “The waiting list here in Northglenn is huge.”
Northglenn’s Community Outreach Coordinator Jenni Murphy agreed.
“We currently serve over 100 senior homes,” Murphy said. “Our waiting list is continually growing and we have over 20 at the top of the waiting list right now.
“We put out a call for volunteers in August. Every year just amazes me at how many calls we get for people needing shoveling. It’s a continual growing program. We’re all getting older and we all just need some extra help.”
There are some less obvious benefits for recipients, she said.
“Many of our recipients receive deliveries from oxygen and medical supply companies that truly won’t deliver unless those sidewalks are shoveled,” Murphy said. “It’s truly a necessity for them for safety and health.”
Cal Smith, a Northglenn senior loves the program.
“Thank you so much for the Snow Stormer program,” he said. “This allows me to stay in my home a bit longer.”
Murphy said that’s the reaction she likes to hear.
“That really touches my heart because it’s a big deal to stay in your own home if you want to,” Murphy said. “And it’s a way to give back to seniors who have given so much of their lives to others.”
Volunteers Gain Pride
It’s great from the volunteer’s point of view, too, Murphy said. She knows it from personal experience.
“It makes you feel good inside and out,” she said. “My husband and I volunteer for six homes. You get to know them and it’s good physically and inside, too. It’s important to teach young kids that it’s important to give back to others.”
David Mura and wife, Katie Mura, co-owners of Fit Soldiers group personal training are starting their fourth year of volunteering as Snow Stormers.
“We have 10 Snow Stormer participants at the moment,” David said. “We have five homes right now and may add more as we get into it. We want to see the fitness go beyond our four walls and impact our community and our neighborhood. It brings our Fit Soldiers family together so we can not only have `show’ muscles, but `go’ muscles.”
It’s just as true in Westminster, where the volunteers are called Snow Busters.
“I’ve been snow-bustering for three years,” Westminster’s Will Leo said. “I really enjoy doing it. It gives me a sense of pride. Come and help your neighbors out. Give the city of Westminster a call.”
About Snow Stormers
Northglenn’s had its program for 20 years, Murphy said.
“I believe there was a big need for people to have their snow removed and in an effort to alleviate code enforcement to ticket people who were not meeting the 24-hour deadline,” she said. “Right now, we have 52 volunteers. A lot of people decide to take one or two homes. Some groups are able to adopt 10 because there are 10 in the group.”
Fitness matters, she said. Age doesn’t.
“Most of the volunteers are working people who are fit. It’s a great way to get a good workout,” she said. “A man who just retired from the program last year was 92 and he was shoveling for two young women in their 70s. The time commitment totally depends on what kind of storms we get. It’s a snow season commitment.”
Volunteers commit to March and April.
“We ask that you are on board from the first snow storm through the last one in March or April,” Murphy said. “They need to respond after every measurable snowstorm. Northglenn has 48 hours after the last snowflake to clear the walks.”
In Thornton and Westminster, the response time is within 24 hours after a snowfall.
It’s a good way for people to help the community.
“A lot of people would like to volunteer but don’t know what to do. I think it gives people a way to figure out how they can help somebody else,” she said. “We’ve honored and labeled this program so folks that need help are calling in and seeking it because they may feel they don’t have a neighbor who can help them.”
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