British Columbia

Kindness snowballs after online search for volunteers to help B.C. seniors with snow

What started as a random act of kindness by Revelstoke local has evolved into an online Facebook group where people volunteer to help seniors, and those who aren't physically able, with snow removal.

'Life amazes me sometimes,' said creator of Revelstoke Unstuck Facebook group

Sandra Gregory, pictured, has been fielding calls from people across Revelstoke asking her to help them remove snow. (Submitted by Sandra Gregory)

What started as a random act of kindness by Revelstoke local has evolved into an online Facebook group where people volunteer to help seniors, and those who aren't physically able, with snow removal.

Revelstoke has been bombarded with snow this winter and Sandra Gregory, who recently returned from volunteering in West Africa, is trying to gather resources to help those who are quite literally getting stuck in the community.

It started last week when Gregory saw an elderly woman trying to walk through the snow in the dark with her cane when it was –18 C. 

The lady had been on her way to her church group, so Gregory offered her a ride.

"By the time we got to your church group, I just said, 'Here's my name, here's my number, whatever you need, just give me a call. But I don't want to see you walking out like that in this kind of weather,' and it just started from there," she said.

One elderly woman called Gregory and asked her to shovel snow off her roof because she was worried it was going to collapse. (Submitted by Sandra Gregory)

The next day Gregory got a call from another elderly woman, who got her number from the lady in the church group, asking her to come over because she was worried her roof would collapse under all of the snow.

"I wasn't really anticipating that. So I got on snow pants and wandered over and started shoveling off a roof," Gregory told Daybreak South guest host Brady Strachan.

Calls pouring in

From there, the phone calls started to pour in from people in the community asking her to help them with snow.

Gregory decided to put a call out on social media to see if there were others who would be able to help her.

"I just started to realize, you know even for myself, getting ourselves 'unstuck' in Revi isn't always easy. You don't always have the resources," she said.

People in Revlestoke have volunteered everything from physical labour to equipment, such as snow blowers. (Submitted by Sandra Gregory)

"For our senior community, or anyone really vulnerable who doesn't have the physical ability to deal with all this snow, I mean that's tough."

Gregory has created a Facebook group called Revelstoke Unstuck, to connect people who are able to volunteer their time with those who need assistance.

"I just thought well if I can get a few people out with me really quick then I can get this done and I can probably unpack, because I haven't even shoveled myself out yet," she said.

'Incredible' response

Since starting the Facebook group, Gregory has gotten so many messages from volunteers, she can't keep up.

Some have offered time and labour, while others have offered equipment like snow blowers.

'For our senior community, or anyone really vulnerable who doesn't have the physical ability to deal with all this snow, I mean that's tough,' said Gregory, who helped shovel this path for one community member. (Submitted by Sandra Gregory)

"It was incredible. It was really, really special," she said.

While she doesn't expect any payment, people have gifted her mittens, homemade jam and salad.

"I'm eating well, and my hands are going to be warm, and I'm sure the jam was made with love."

With files from Daybreak South

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