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Austin, Garfield Park, North Lawndale

West Side Seniors Are Trapped Inside Because Of Recent Snowstorms. They Need Your Help To Clear The Sidewalks

Block clubs and churches need help clearing out snow for older people and those with disabilities, who have been unable to get out of their homes because of the weather.

Pablo Delfi shovels out his minivan after a heavy snowfall this weekend in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on February 1, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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GARFIELD PARK — The constant barrage of snow and frigid temperatures has left older people on the West Side stuck in their homes for days.

Garfield Park resident Patricia Dugan has been trapped in her home due to the recent blizzards and cold snap. She has been unable to find anybody locally to clear away snow in front of her home.

“I can’t get out because of the snow and ice,” she said. “It’s difficult to get out, especially when it’s like this. The thing about it is, I can’t afford, every time it snows and it builds up ice, to have the snow removers come because I’m on a fixed income.”

Older people and people with disabilities are looking for volunteers to help them dig out of their homes. If you’re willing to help, email Tracie Worthy at tworthy@iamablecenter.org to assist older people in North Lawndale or email chekago@yahoo.com to shovel snow in East Garfield Park.

Volunteers should provide their name, phone number and email address. No volunteer should be asking those who need help for money, the organizers pressed.

One of the organizers has helped her neighborhood church deliver food to older people since the beginning of the pandemic. With the snow piling up, it’s been even harder for older folks to get out to take care of basic errands and get food to then, she said.

The city’s 311 service once ran a program that coordinated volunteers to shovel snow for volunteers, but the program was discontinued due to a lack of volunteers.

RELATED: More Snow, 30-Below-Zero Cold Could Hit Chicago This Weekend

Worthy has also been delivering groceries for seniors through a block club network organized by I AM ABLE, a trauma-informed social service agency in North Lawndale. The block club network identifies which community members need assistance and arranges for volunteers to shovel snow for residents.

Snow “can be a problem for seniors: doctor’s appointments, going to buy food, or even if you’re getting food delivered, it can be a problem,” Worthy said.

Pascal Sabino is a Report for America corps member covering Austin, North Lawndale and Garfield Park for Block Club Chicago.

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