City of Hamilton takes Snow Angels back under its wings

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By Amy Kenny

Volunteer Hamilton will no longer be responsible for administering the city’s Snow Angels program.

A report from the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton found, on average, that 261 of every 400 needy residents were not being served by the program due to a lack of volunteers.

The report also recommends testing alternative operational models, trying to increase volunteer numbers by removing barriers to recruitment (at present, parents are required to attend meetings when volunteers are under 18) and allocating the $100,000 annual budget to the neighbourhood and community initiatives division, where a full-time senior project manager would be hired on a three-year term.

Snow Angels, which launched in Hamilton in 2005, matches volunteers with low-income seniors and those with disabilities who are unable to shovel their sidewalks or pay someone else to do so. Volunteers are assigned to clear walkways within 24 hours of a three-centimetre snowfall.

Not only does this keep the sidewalks clear, said Ward 4 Coun. Sam Merulla, but the service allows seniors to live in their homes longer, which reduces the strain on retirement homes and institutions.

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