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.

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Raeya Evie Duncan was the 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital for the month of May. She is seen here with her parents Alysha Williams and Andrew Duncan on June 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Baby boom in Chilliwack as record number of infants born at CGH in May

‘COVID babies are coming out,’ says dad of 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital last month

Syringes prepared with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Long Beach, Calif., Friday, March 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Walk-ins welcome at upcoming G.W. Secondary vaccine clinic

Second consecutive Saturday Fraser Health has scheduled a same-day clinic in a Chilliwack school

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

Dozens of demonstrators gathered in March at the Hope Station House, showing support for preserving the 1916 building. (Photo/Christian Ward)
New reports breathe life into efforts to save the Hope Station House

The documents were presented to District of Hope Council at a meeting June 14

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

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

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

Most Read