Because of the kindness and compassion of Guelph residents, the Snow Angels program in Guelph is in its fifth year and continues to grow.
The free snow removal service for seniors and persons with disabilities who struggle to get in and out of their homes is offered by the People and Information Network (PIN) in partnership with the City of Guelph.
In 2019 alone, nearly 184 residents were helped by 73 volunteers, also known as Snow Angels who provided roughly 949 hours of snow shovelling service.
“I think this is just a very good example of meeting a need, but people are also interested in helping out and meeting their neighbours,” said PIN executive director Christine Oldfield.
“The number one reason people volunteer is to give back to the community so this is the way to give people the chance to give back to their neighbours which is why it’s called the neighbourly thing to do.”
Oldfield said the program was inspired by a similar program in the City of Hamilton called Snow Angels as well which initiated the conversation with the City of Guelph who understood the need for seniors and people with disabilities specifically, who were unable to get into their cars because of the windrow of snow left behind by city snowplows when clearing roads.
“The city recognized the need to make homes accessible to people so they can get in and out,” said Oldfield.
“It was a conversation based on the potential of us having experience working in engaging volunteers and the need of citizens to be able to get in and out of their homes in the winter season particularly seniors and people with disabilities.”
Oldfield said PIN regularly receives positive feedback from residents.
“We get cards of thanks all the time saying I would not be able to leave my home or be able to remain at home if it wasn’t for the Snow Angels program,” said Oldfield.
Snow angels go through a thorough screening process before they can volunteer for the service and anyone 14 years old or older may submit an application to volunteer.
The Snow Angel program is only offered to residents who:
Live in the City of Guelph is a single or semi-detached house with a private driveway.
Are unable to remove snow on their own or are unable to afford snow removal services.
Have no able-bodied person living in their household who is able to shovel snow.
Are senior citizens, aged 65 years or older, or a person living with a disability.