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Identity & Community

Allegheny County Searching For 'Snow Angels'

Snow might be one of the most dreaded four-letter words in Western Pennsylvania, but city and country officials are trying to make it a little less frightful for elderly and disabled residents.

This winter, the volunteer-based snow removal program, Snow Angels, is expanding throughout Allegheny County.

The program pairs volunteers of any age with residents 60 or older, or those with disabilities, to assist with shoveling snow along driveways and sidewalks. Since Snow Angels’ in 2011, volunteers have shoveled more than 50,000-square-feet of city sidewalks.

Amie Downs, spokeswoman for Allegheny County, said the biggest challenge is trying to formalize something residents already do without city or county registration.

“There are plenty of residents in our county that are already doing this for their neighbors and friends and family and loved ones,” she said. “And we just hope that we can call on those kindnesses and that willingness to serve…”

The county program is an expansion of the city’s Snow Angels initiative and the United Way’s “Open Your Heart to a Senior” program, according to Downs.

“They’re working in partnership with Family Services of Western Pennsylvania and North Hill Community Outreach and so, that’s why we’ve put out this county-wide call for volunteers to help us through all of our county neighborhoods and municipalities…” She said.

Volunteers have 24 hours after the snow stops falling to remove it, but aren’t expected to shovel if the snow is forecasted to melt within the day. Downs said volunteers are also asked to assist at least one resident for the entire winter season.

“If people are willing to do this and have the time and the opportunity to help those who are registered with the program, it makes a great deal of difference,” she said.

Those interested in volunteering can register online or call 412-863-5939. Shovels and salt will be provided to volunteers upon request.