Snow Angels answered plea for help

Chilliwack volunteers rose to the challenge when hearing of seniors stuck at home after snowstorm

The Chilliwack and District Seniors' Resource Society says Snow Angels are desperately needed this winter

The Chilliwack and District Seniors' Resource Society says Snow Angels are desperately needed this winter

Snow Angels were needed this week in unprecedented numbers, and they answered the call without hesitation.

It seemed all of Chilliwack was snowed in over the weekend, and there were many stories of neighbourhoods coming together to dig each other out. But there were also dozens of seniors who did not have a neighbour or family member to come along and rescue them, and those seniors knew to call the Snow Angel program at the Senior Resources’ Society.

But there more than 30 people who called, and not enough Angels to get to everyone in a timely manner. So, they put out the call. And when a story ran in The Progress on Wednesday, the number of volunteer Snow Angels doubled.

“We added to our numbers by 15 so far,” said Colletta Holmes, from the resource society. That brings the total of Snow Angels up to 30, and even though some are seniors themselves, and some work full time, the outpouring of volunteer spirit was enough in just one day to clear 34 sidewalks and driveways.

It’s been a bright beacon of community effort after a tough weekend of snowfall, Holmes says.

“I’m overwhelmed by the positive attitudes,” she says. “People are saying, ‘I want to help, how can I help, what can I do?’ They are ready to just hit the ground running, and that makes a huge difference for us when we’re trying to schedule people.”

Her longtime volunteers weren’t even interested in speaking with reporters, Holmes says. That would be time away from pushing a shovel.

While they’re happy with the outpouring of support, the more Snow Angels the merrier, she adds.

“It’s really tough, and we don’t want to wear them down,” she says.

And while the snow has stopped falling for now, she adds it’s not even winter yet, and these troubles are far from over. That once fluffy and blowing snow now includes a layer of frozen snow on the ground. It’s heavier, harder to shovel, and deeper than it was just a few days ago. And that means the Angels are more at risk of injuring or overworking themselves.

There are some tips she has for all homeowners. Layering salt on the path to be cleared, and letting it sit for a few hours ideally in the sun, can make the shoveling much easier when an Angel arrives.

When seniors are snowed in, it’s not just about getting them out and about. It also limits their mail service, newspaper and other deliveries, and home care services.

What’s been frustrating for some who normally walk around town are the sidewalks that seem to be under nobody’s jurisdiction, Holmes said. There are large portions of Spadina Ave. that are under construction that haven’t been cleared, and Nowell Street, another area with many pedestrians, is not walkable at all. People are forced into the already narrow road, that’s been made even more narrow by snow drifts.

“That’s a major place for people to walk back and forth, and the width of the road is compromised so what might have been two clear roads is now single lane. And if the roads are still not clear, they cars are still sliding all over the place.”

But the Snow Angels will continue to do what they can to make getting to and fro easier for everyone. And that will continue to be important even if next week’s warm weather starts to melt the snow off.

Then, she says, it will be important to keep storm drains clear, so properties don’t flood.

In the meantime, she’s telling all her seniors to try to enjoy the brightness that a winter wonderland brings.

“Even if they can’t get outside, I’m telling them to sit in the window and enjoy the sunshine,” she says. “It’s the brightness and the beauty of it.”

The Snow Angel program has been running since 2008, but has never been called into service in these numbers. To volunteer, or find out about having your sidewalk cleared, contact the society by email at info@cdsrs.ca or call 604-793-9979.

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Richard Procee is one of four candidates in the Feb. 13, 2021 Chilliwack school board byelection. Here, he poses at his store in 2017. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
VIDEO: Byelection candidate Richard Procee hopes to ‘introduce good conversation’ to Chilliwack school board

Procee discusses his involvement with his church, views on SOGI 123 and politics

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane towed across Chilliwack over weekend

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

The Abbotsford Tulip Festival is permanently closing, with plans to eventually set up in Armstrong, B.C. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Abbotsford Tulip Festival is closing, with plans to rebloom in Armstrong

Event organizer says pandemic and sale of land were factors in decision

Cultus Lake’s Reece Howden on the course at Idre Fjäll in Sweden where he turned in another dominant World Cup ski cross performance. (Alpine Canada)
Cultus Lake skier Reece Howden stacks up World Cup wins in Sweden

Howden won two more long-distance ski cross races to expand his lead in the World Cup standings

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Fraser East COVID-19 numbers plateau, rest of region trends down

Fraser East is sitting around 400 new COVID-19 cases each week

Rose Sawka, 91, waves to her son through the window of a care home in Prince Rupert in October. Residents of the care home received their first vaccine dose Jan. 20. (K-J Millar/The Northern View)
B.C. care home visitor access to expand by March, Dix says

Staff, residents, essential visitors top priorities for vaccine

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

Kyrell Sopotyk was drafted by the Kamloops Blazers in 2016 and played two seasons with the Western Hockey League club. (Photograph By ALLEN DOUGLAS/KTW)
Kamloops Blazer paralyzed in snowboarding accident sparks fundraiser for family

As of Jan. 24, more than $68,000 had been raised to help Kamloops Blazers’ forward Kyrell Sopotyk

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Pixhere photo)
B.C. dentists argue for COVID-19 vaccine priority after ‘disappointing’ exclusion from plan

Vaccines are essential for dentists as patients cannot wear masks during treatment, argues BCDA

Most Read