City program matching seniors with shoveling volunteers continues to grow

City program matching seniors with shoveling volunteers continues to grow

Senior liaison Beth Roberge says Pawtucket is still accepting requests from city seniors to be placed on a list and matched with a snow-shoveling volunteer for the winter to help shovel their stairs and sidewalks. This program is designed to reduce seniors’ exposure to health risks in difficult winter conditions.

PAWTUCKET – The list of local senior citizens asking for help shoveling snow this winter is now at 100 and growing, following last Thursday’s major snowstorm.

As of Monday, Jan. 8, all city seniors on the last were matched up with a local student volunteer. In the past, there have been some shortages in certain areas of the city.

Officials say Pawtucket might be the only community in Rhode Island to have such a program, which is run by senior liaison Beth Roberge. Roberge has fielded calls from as far away as Missouri asking about the program and how it is run.

Following another successful season last year, officials say they’re proud to continue the program.

Roberge and Mayor Donald Grebien announced Monday that they’re still accepting requests from city seniors to be placed on the list and matched with a snow-shoveling volunteer for the winter who can help shovel stairs and sidewalks.

Youth volunteers donate their time and effort to help elderly residents of Pawtucket who are unable to shovel snow during the winter months.

The young volunteers are paired with senior citizens in their neighborhood and are deployed to the senior’s home during and after snowfall that requires shoveling.

Snow-covered stairs pose numerous health risks to seniors. This program is designed to reduce seniors’ exposure to those risks in difficult winter conditions, says Grebien.

Through a partnership with Pawtucket schools, Roberge is able to recruit student volunteers.

Seniors interested in receiving shoveling assistance or getting more information about the program can contact Roberge by calling 401-728-0500, ext. 241. If Roberge is not immediately able to answer, people are encouraged to leave a message with their complete name, address and telephone number. Roberge may also be contacted by emailing broberge@pawtucketri.com.

Seniors should note that this volunteer-based service is not guaranteed, even if they called in early and were placed on the list.

The service is contingent on the availability of youth volunteers in the neighborhood. It is also important for seniors to note that if they were on the list last year, they must reapply to be placed on the list again this year.

City officials said they remain committed to serving as many residents as possible through the initiative and thank all volunteers for serving the community.