Volunteer teenagers shovel for the elderly

Domenic Biancardi, an eighth grader from Eastchester Middle School, said he woke up early after the snowstorm over the weekend to shovel snow as part of the Snow Angels program.

Domenic Biancardi, an eighth grader from Eastchester Middle School, said he woke up early after the snowstorm over the weekend to shovel snow as part of the Snow Angels program.

By CHRIS EBERHART

The Eastchester Snow Angels, a group of local teenagers created in 2006 by county Legislator Sheila Marcotte, an Eastchester Republican, volunteered its time during this past Nor’easter as they have for the past eight years to shovel the homes and sidewalks of the town’s elderly.

Marcotte said the idea of the program is to create a path that allows the senior citizens to get in and out of their homes during a snowstorm.

“It’s a fantastic program that makes everyone feel good,” Marcotte said. “For the seniors, it is such a relief to know that they do not have to worry about getting out of their homes or to know that if someone needed to get to them they would be able.”

Marcotte said, during this past weekend’s snowstorm, there were nine Angels out clearing sidewalks and creating pathways from the doors to the end of the steps, but there have been years in which the program had as many as 25 Angels.

Domenic Biancardi, an eighth grader from Eastchester Middle School, left early in the morning on Jan. 4 with his father to shovel five homes.

“It felt great to help people,” Biancardi said.

His mother, Jennifer Bian-cardi, said she couldn’t be prouder of her son.

“He had all good intentions of helping the elderly in our community,” she said. “As a mother, how can you not be proud of that?”

The idea, Marcotte said, came from one of her meal deliveries to a senior citizen in 2008.

“I was doing home delivered meals for one of my seniors,” Marcotte said. “When I got to their house, they had not been shoveled out. It was disturbing to see the houses on both sides of this person completely shoveled. I started talking to people about it, and the Snow Angels were born.”

Marcotte said the program attempts to match-up Angels with people in the neighborhood that live close by early in November. Shortly thereafter, the Snow Angels introduce themselves to the person they’ll be helping so they know each other before the snow season.

Marcotte said the Angels do not shovel driveways and cars—especially cars in the street—for safety reasons, but she said arrangements can be made with the Angel if the person requesting help wants that done. In any case, the person requesting help must leave a shovel, sand, salt and whatever is needed at the front door because the Angels are advised not to go into the homes or the garages.

Because of the program’s success, New Rochelle resident Joyce Furfero spoke to New Rochelle Democratic City Councilman Jared Rice, District 3, about starting the program in New Rochelle.

“I think it’s a simple and easy program that will help our senior citizens,” Furfero said. “And it will create a lot of good will. I emailed [City Manager Charles] Strome about the program, and I was shocked that we didn’t have [one].”

Furfero said she recently reached out to Marcotte and is in the process of starting the program.

“I spoke with Jared [Rice], who said he was going to bring it to the [New Rochelle City] Council, and I spoke to the city manager. I need to get a network going,” Furfero said.

Rice said he is in favor of the idea and is currently researching how to make it a possibility in New Rochelle. The city is in beginning stages now, Rice said, and hopes to get the program in place by next winter.

Domenic Biancardi said, “It felt great to help people,” after shoveling five homes. Contributed Photos

Domenic Biancardi said, “It felt great to help people,” after shoveling five homes. Contributed Photos

In order to sign up in Eastchester to be a Snow Angel or to request help shoveling, Marcotte said to email her at  tuckahoesnowangles@yahoo.com.

For those interested in the project—both as a help recipient and future Snow Angel—in New Rochelle, Furfero said to contact her at  drfurfero@drfurfero.com.

Contact:  christopher@hometwn.com