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A Hennepin County-based nonprofit is looking for guardian snow angels to help seniors

In Communities that KARE, see how shoveling driveways can clear the way for new relationships in the community.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — When you live in Minnesota, snow and the shoveling that follows are inevitable. 

But for aging adults, without help, our state's winter dream-like environment can turn into a nightmare. "It's unbelievable how important this stuff is to the elderly or sick people that can't do their own self," said Leonard Woida. He and his wife, Kathleen, can move out and about thanks to Senior Community Services.

Karen Johnson, the outreach coordinator, explains how it works. "We recruit volunteers to come out and help the seniors so they can get to their doctor's appointments, family can visit them, whatever they need to be able to get in and out," she said.  

Volunteers are ready whenever a senior is ready to hang up the shovel.

"I think, really, it was my self-pride about being able to do stuff and when I could see that I couldn't do it anymore it was really hard," said Woida.

But Senior Community Services makes it easy to clear these home maintenance hurdles. "In our program, what we ask is that you commit to a senior for the season," said Johnson.

Jason Burr-Lamon is the volunteer who works with the Woidas.

"I don't have to do snow removal at my house because it's an association. So I thought that would be a good way to volunteer," said Burr-Lamon.

This particular community in Bloomington is where he grew up and is dear to his heart. "These are people that, you know, when I was younger, would have probably let me run through their yards and play. And now this is a way I can give back to the community," said Burr-Lamon.

Simple acts of kindness like picking up a shovel can help older adults stay in their homes longer, as is the case for the Woidas.

One hundred and seventy-five seniors have reached out to Senior Community Services, but the organization needs more volunteers.

"I think people need to understand that the aging population is growing rapidly, and we need to be stepping up and helping and volunteering just feels good," said Johnson. 

Check out this link if you'd like to volunteer to shovel snow this season.

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