by Ashley Janes
Morinville – Family Community Support Services (FCSS) is requesting volunteers for the Adopt-A-Driveway program to donate a small portion of their time after each snowfall to a resident in need. Coordinator for FCSS, Karin Debenham, explained that the Town of Morinville has encouraged volunteerism pertaining to neighbours helping neighbours, but a program of this nature had not yet been formalized.
What had been formalized was a way for aid recipients to show their appreciation through a program called Snow Angels. “Snow Angels is not about matching people. It’s about giving the recipient of the volunteer services an opportunity to say thank you,” Debenham said. The Adopt-A-Driveway program is an add-on to this service, matching individuals, families, organizations, businesses and other groups who can commit to helping with people who are unable to perform snow removal for themselves.
Debenham pointed out that Adopt-A-Driveway is used successfully in a number of other municipalities in the area so bringing the program to Morinville was simple. She contacted their neighbouring office in Spruce Grove and requested that they send a copy of their application package. FCSS then adapted it into resident information and volunteer packages to be used in Morinville.
“I have two people who have now requested snow shoveling services and, as of this moment, I have no volunteers who have come forward,” she said, adding the first step to become a volunteer in the Adopt-A-Driveway program is to apply. After a formal application is submitted, the interested party is then required to have an RCMP Criminal Record Check done on the basis that they will be working with vulnerable people. The applicant will be given a letter from the FCSS, which will identify to the RCMP that the request is for the Adopt-A-Driveway program. There is no cost for the record check.
Upon clearance of the record check, Debenham explained that the volunteer would be matched with a resident in need for the entire winter season. “It’s not only about the seniors, it’s about folks who, for whatever reason, don’t have the health to be able to remove the snow from their walkways and their driveways within the 48-hour timeline,” she said. Once matched with a recipient, the volunteer will be expected to clear fresh snowfall within 48 hours of it touching down.
The information and application packages go into more detail, covering the finer points of the program such as: can you accept a tip? Can you accept payment? What about a shovel? “The application package includes about three pages of information, including a full page for the snow shoveler on how to do these things safely,” Debenham explained. For more information on the Adopt-A-Driveway program, call Karin Debenham at 780-939-7841 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. The information and application packages are available at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre and in person or by email from the FCSS department.