N.J. mayors taps into volunteer spirit with snow shovel-ready project

Men carry shovels as they walk on a snow covered road after an overnight snowstorm. (Julio Cortez/AP Photo)

Men carry shovels as they walk on a snow covered road after an overnight snowstorm. (Julio Cortez/AP Photo)

A New Jersey town is recruiting volunteers to shovel snow this winter from sidewalks and driveways at the homes of elderly and disabled residents.

The goal is to prevent those residents from risking their health by trying to clear away the snow themselves, said Brick Township Mayor John Ducey.

“One of our senior citizens in town said, when he was a child or young adult, he would actually go around door-to-door and make money. He goes, nobody ever knocks on his door, there’s nobody out there being entrepreneurs anymore in setting up these snow-shoveling businesses or snowblower businesses,” Ducey said. “He was just asking what I thought about that. That’s when I came up with the volunteer idea.”

In addition to feeling good about helping someone, Ducey said, volunteers have another incentive.

“We are giving community-service credits so that if somebody needs them for a college application or for the National Honor Society or for any other reason, our recreation department tracks everything and gives actual community service credits,” he said.

About 20 people have volunteered so far, including a few father-daughter teams.

When there’s a significant snowfall, they’ll get emails letting them know just where their shoveling services are needed.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.