Volunteer groups need your help to shovel snow

CREATED Jan 13, 2014 - UPDATED: Jan 13, 2014

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BAY VIEW - It’s only the middle of January and Milwaukee county residents have already shoveled 28.7” of snow.  And with so much snow and even more on the way, some are finding it hard to keep up.

“Things like this, I'm helpless,” Marion tells TODAY’S TMJ4’s Jesse Ritka.  Marion and her husband have lived in their home for nearly 60 years but this winter’s snow proved to be too much for them to handle.  “It used to be the kids would come around or even some of the neighbors would do it and now... nobody comes around,” Marion explains.

But Interfaith Older Adult Programs has changed that.  Now every time it snows, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee graduate student Nicky Glaser volunteers to shovel for them, “When I think about the older adults in the area that aren't able to shovel, it upsets me and I don't have to shovel, I live in an apartment so I figure why not? Why not help?”

Marion is happy for the help, “It keeps ya so you can stay in your home, the rest of the things we can manage pretty well for ourselves.”

But there aren't enough people like Nicky to shovel for the seniors in need of a little help.  Mardi Charnitz is the Director of Interfaith’s Neighborhood Outreach Program, which has been flooded with requests for snow removal assistance this winter, “When it does snow or get icy that's when we get the calls and then we don't have the volunteers because it's so much more than it used to be.”

So Charnitz is hoping volunteer applications start piling up as quickly as the snow does, “We need to just remember to help your neighbor and to be there for each other and that's why we always need more volunteers.”

“Just think of the elders in your life and if they didn't have people available to shovel for them, I know that'd be heartbreaking to think about my grandmother,” Glaser pleas, hoping others will join her as a volunteer.  Stating the reaction she gets from shoveling for Marion is priceless.

“I don't know what I'd do without her! She's really a blessing,” Marion admits.

Now Interfaith just needs your help - Charnitz explains, “It really isn't hard, it doesn't take much time but it means everything.”

To volunteer you can call 414-220-8648 or complete this volunteer application.  Charnitz explains “We do do criminal background checks because our older adults are vulnerable clients,” but then Interfaith matches you up with a senior close to your work, school or home.  Then all you need is your own shovel or snow blower, time and a little elbow grease to make a big difference, no matter the size of the storm.