The city of Kamloops has opened its Snow Angels programs for anyone interested in helping the elderly or residents with limited mobility, who need snow removed from their pathways, stairs, sidewalks, and driveways.
This year is the fifth consecutive winter with the program running. Volunteer Kamloops implemented the program when the city saw their senior residents and people with mobility issues struggle to clear snow out of their homes. Snow Angels is also a great opportunity for neighbours to engage with one another and strengthen the community.
Ainsley Tymchyna, the link program coordinator for Volunteer Kamloops, shared the challenges of organizing a program like this.
“The number of clients requesting the help of a Snow Angel and finding volunteers in all areas of the city is hard,” said Tymchyna.
The number of requests they get per season is higher than the number of volunteers they have. Getting people to help in older neighbourhoods or rural areas is even harder.
On the other hand, being a part of the organizing team for this program has been rewarding for Tymchyna.
“Hearing from the Seniors the difference it makes in their lives. It allows them to live independently longer in their homes and not have the added stress of having to worry about how they will get out of their house when it snows or how they will clear their sidewalks,” Tymchyna said.
The importance of Snow Angels goes beyond volunteer hours.
“It’s a great opportunity that makes a huge impact on residents of our community. It doesn’t require a huge amount of time and it’s something that you can do with a family member, friend, co-worker or by yourself. It helps keep you active during the winter and you feel great knowing you helped someone out,” said Tymchyna.
There are a few steps to be a part of this program. Anyone interested should go to volunteerkamloops.org, search for snow angles and fill out an application.
The city will need a background check to ensure the safety of everyone participating. After the processing is cleared, the volunteers get paired with a senior or person in need within their neighbourhood.
Shovelling snow can be a tiring experience so Tymchyna recommends that those who take part in the program are physically fit.
“We also need the volunteers to be able to commit to helping their seniors for the entire winter season. Snow needs to be cleared from sidewalks and driveways within 24 hours of snowfall but can be done on the volunteers own schedule and we try to match you with someone needing help as close to your home as possible,” added Tymchyna.
In the five years this program has been running, many TRU students have taken part in it. So if you’re thinking of ways to spread the holiday spirit this year, make sure to apply and become a Snow Angel.