Residents can get a hand shoveling snow

Hinsdale seniors can get help shoveling snow this winter under a new village initiative.

The Snow Shoveling Referral Program will provide village residents over the age of 60 or who have a disability with the names and contact information of volunteers willing to clear their driveways and walkways. Heather Bereckis, superintendent for parks and recreation, presented the program at Tuesday night’s village board meeting. Residents can join the program by filling out the Snow Shoveling Referrals Request form on the village’s website,, or in person at village hall.

“They give information about themselves, their address, all their contact information, and then saying how they qualify — whether they’re over 60 or have a disability,” Bereckis said.

There is also a volunteer application for those looking to give back to the community in this way or for young people seeking service opportunities.

“It’s meant to be a volunteer program,” Bereckis said. “We have an area (on the registration form) for them to put in their school if they needed credit hours.”

Volunteers also note what time of the day they’re available. The list of shovelers will be shared with a resident in need assistance, who is then responsible for reaching out to the volunteer directly and scheduling a time for shoveling.

“If we know someone is looking for a morning shoveling, we don’t connect them with someone who is an evening shoveler only,” Bereckis added. “It also has information on whether they have their own snow shovel and if they need transportation.”

The idea for the program emerged after Village President Tom Cauley received a call last winter from a elderly resident about getting assistance shoveling her walkway.

“(She) couldn’t afford to pay somebody to shovel,” Cauley said. “She wanted some way the village could assist in either pooling resources from a number of people in the same situation to pay for someone to go around and clean their walkways and driveways or some other solution.

Bereckis underscored that the program is intended to be “strictly volunteer,” but other arrangements can be agreed to.

“We did put the caveat in that if someone is requesting payment, that’s handled between the two parties,” she said.

Trustee Neale Byrnes asked how volunteers would be recruited. Bereckis said the village would notify the local schools and organizations like The Community House about the program.

The forms note that the village does not do background checks on the requesting residents or participating volunteers and that, if desired, parties should conduct their own vetting.

Trustee Michelle Fisher declared she would sign up her school-age children as volunteers and suggested that residents in need identify the scope of the shoveling needed, i.e. driveway, porch, sidewalk.

“If a kid’s coming over, if they know it’s going to be 15 minutes or an hour, they might just be able to better gauge it,” Fisher said. “I think it’s great.”

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean