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Helping others one shovel at a time

The Snow Angels program is clearing the way for a better and safer community. Through a partnership between the Cold Lake and District FCSS and City of Cold Lake, elderly, injured, and young families can have their snow cleared without worry.
The Snow Angels program helps those who can’t shovel their snow through the help of volunteers.
The Snow Angels program helps those who can’t shovel their snow through the help of volunteers.

The Snow Angels program is clearing the way for a better and safer community.

Through a partnership between the Cold Lake and District FCSS and City of Cold Lake, elderly, injured, and young families can have their snow cleared without worry.

"The Snow Angels program aims to encourage neighbours to help one another with snow and ice removal. Folks in our community that need help removing snow and ice, and it's not just for elderly, the program is also for people recovering from surgery or an accident, new parents, or any reason at all. The bottom line is these folks need help with their snow and ice removal," said Leanne Draper, coordinator of community services for FCSS.

Those who need help clearing their walkway can call FCSS about the program. Someone from the organization will place a sign in the resident in need's yard, letting their neighbours know they need a helping hand.

"Right on the sign it says 'help your neighbour, remove snow and ice from their residence.' We hope that when people are out shovelling their snow that they see the sign and think 'hey, you know what, I am already out here doing the job, I might as well help my neighbour,'" expressed Draper.

The program is great for not only the residents in need, but also students who require volunteer hours.

Draper said all they need to do is clear snow from a walkway with a sign, give FCSS a call, and she will take it from there.

"I will give the resident a call and confirm that the student was there. I will absolutely write them up a time sheet for their volunteer hours."

Keeping your walkway clear of snow and ice is not only a bylaw in the City of Cold Lake, it is also courteous for delivery workers, emergency crews, and neighbours.

"If there is ever an emergency situation where they need to get out of the house right away, or emergency service providers need to get in immediately, it's fantastic to have a clear and ice-free pathway," Draper noted.

But, that's not all. The Snow Angels program is also building a strong, safe, and caring community, she continued.

"The big picture is, by doing something to help your neighbour by snowshovelling, we're encouraging a caring and engaged community. We start to look out for one another; we get to know our neighbours. By knowing our neighbours, we therefore increase security in our neighbourhood."

This year, FCSS has had about 20 to 25 people request signs, which is down from last year's numbers.

"We had an all time record of 55 participants, thats the most signs we have ever put out," emphasized Draper.

She is predicting even more to call in once the snow really starts to fly, but she cautioned residents to call in sooner rather than later.

"It's easiest for us to plant the signs before the ground is frozen. The sooner you can call us, the better, because once the ground gets frozen it's really tough."

For residents wanting to recognize their Snow Angel, they can call FCSS, in fact, the organizers encourage it.

"Anybody that has received the help of a snow angel, we encourage them to nominate that person as a snow angel. They give us a call and let us know who shoveled for them. We get a hold of that person, give them a certificate, and a token of our appreciation," said Draper.

For more information about the program, to get a sign, or nominate a Snow Angel, call 780-594-4495.