As the first flakes of snow fell on Lynbrook this past weekend reminding everyone that winter is less than a month away, the Cares Committee is actively looking for volunteers to help shovel snow.
During the monthly Lynbrook Village board meeting Nov. 7, Trustee Laura Ryder, who is in charge of the Cares Committee, said she is looking for volunteers to help shovel snow. These volunteers would help senior citizens, people who are disabled, and veterans. Ryder meticulously assigns every volunteer to a recipient of the snow shovel program.
“I’ll get calls in, speak with that person, and match that volunteer to a senior citizen, someone who is disabled, or a veteran,” Ryder said. Ryder likes to pair a volunteer with someone who lives close to them so they don’t have to travel far in treacherous conditions. Although Ryder pairs the volunteers well with the recipients, they still have to bear the force of nature.
“Our volunteers put themselves at risk free of charge,” Ryder said. These volunteers are “kindhearted, giving, and compassionate” according to Ryder. She mentioned that this program has been “overwhelmingly successful, but this year there are too little volunteers to help out with every single recipient.”
Unfortunately, Ryder had to turn away some potential recipients and put them on a waitlist. “It pains me to turn people away as that is the last thing I want to do,” Ryder said. For this upcoming year, the Cares Committee has at least six people that will help shovel the recipients’ homes.
“Six people have helped out from the beginning,” Ryder said. When this committee was established in 2018, Ryder had a core group that would shovel snow every year. For the recipients to get the most out of this service, Ryder is looking to add at least 10 more volunteers and better equipment.
“Snow blowers are needed because they clear out the snow much faster and we can tackle multiple houses this way,” Ryder said.
To get more people to volunteer, Ryder has added incentives. Ryder offers community service hours and talks directly with the Lynbrook High School Student Government to work out the details. She also offers community service for Our Lady of Peace Roman Catholic Church, as church members need service hours for communion.
Shoveling snow is not the only service that volunteers can apply for, as the Cares Committee offers a variety of other services that help older, disabled, and veteran community members. “We offer light handyman work like taking out the garbage,” Ryder said. During the pandemic, volunteers of the committee went grocery shopping for the recipients.
“We had a check in program where we paired volunteers to seniors and they would call them,” Ryder said. This helped the recipients feel less lonely as they were cooped up in their homes during the pandemic. There are certain things, however, that volunteers of this committee cannot do like drive recipients to get medical service. Ryder encourages recipients to call 911 for emergency situations.
She hopes to gain enough volunteers this year so that they not only help the older citizens in the community, but also develop deep connections with them. This is the ultimate purpose of the Cares Committee. For more information, email Ryder at email@example.com.