BERWICK, COLUMBIA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Mayor Tim Burke of Berwick is looking for volunteers to help clear the snow off driveways and sidewalks of homes belonging to seniors or people with disabilities.
A program started by Burke seven years ago asks volunteers, called Snow Angels, to step in to help the community.
“A lot of our seniors have regular doctor’s appointments and we need to get them shoveled out. And if they need an ambulance or something or somebody needs to get them to a doctor’s appointment, we have to make sure they can get in safely,” Burke told Eyewitness News.
Initially, the program was popular. There were 63 children and 20 adults that were a part of the Snow Angels in its first week. In recent years, those numbers have dropped significantly.
“We shoveled, well into midnight shoveling snow and the last time it snowed we had three people, and I was one of them,” Burke said.
On Tuesday afternoon, there were no snow angels working. Yet the need for them to help seniors and disabled has grown.
Mayor Burke says there are 130 people who regularly request that their driveways or sidewalks are shoveled.
“Sadly enough we’ve gotten to the point where they have to say ‘as we get volunteers we can help.’ It’s not like ‘okay we can put you on the list,’ like when we first started,” Burke said.
It all began with an unusual phone call from a woman in Texas.
“Her mom was 91 years old and lived on Lasalle Street and she was concerned about her mom getting cited for not removing her snow because she had a hip replacement, I believe and she was totally unable to do it,” Burke said.
A councilman ran out during his lunch break to shovel the snow for the woman. That experience made the mayor realize others may be in need of the same help and he decided to start the Snow Angels program.
“I call it the little town with a big heart,” Burke said. “We come out and we wrap around it.”
Anyone interested in volunteering can call City Hall at (570)-752-2723. Burke says the program is following COVID-19 precautions.
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