Seeking help to shovel snow for a senior in Allegheny County

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About 375 senior citizens are looking for people who can shovel their snow. A United Way-funded program is looking for volunteers who can join the Snow Squad program to help seniors with the snow.

North Hills Community Outreach has put out a call for volunteers who can shovel in all areas of Allegheny County.

Snow Squad is a program of Open Your Heart to a Senior, a county-wide program funded by the United Way. It’s operated by NHCO and Family Services of Western Pennsylvania.

“Right now we are getting more calls from seniors than we are from volunteers,” said Jennifer Kissel, cq director of communications at North Hills Community Outreach. They’re also getting questions from potential volunteers, including, “is it okay if I shovel after 7 p.m. after I get home from work?”

Volunteers of course can shovel when their work and family schedules permit, she said. Ideally they’d like a one-on-one match with each senior having a volunteer shoveler.

The Open Your Heart program is geared toward keeping senior citizens safe in their homes, Ms. Kissel said. Volunteers make sure seniors have regular meals and provide other kinds of assistance, including regular phone calls and providing help getting to doctor and therapy appointments and to grocery stores. Some of those volunteers might be available to shovel snow.

“This is the first time we have put out a separate call for volunteers who can shovel snow,” Ms. Kissel said. Guidance counselors at schools have been alerted to the need for volunteers, noting that student efforts could be used for community service hours required by some schools and some organizations, including National Honor Society. Churches and religious organizations have also been contacted.

About 200 of seniors asking for help with snow shoveling live in the city, she said. Many of them are accustomed to getting help from Mayor Ravenstahl’s Snow Angels program. Last fall the mayor’s office “transitioned” that program to the Open Your Heart to a Senior program.

To volunteer, or email or call 412-307-0071.

Linda Wilson Fuoco: or 412-722-0087.

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