John Taves is looking for people who want to be snow angels.
Not the kind who lie in the fresh powder and flail their arms and legs to create art, but those who are willing to help out those who can’t take care of their walks when the white stuff begins piling up.
“Snow Angels” is a service Taves is trying to coordinate in Cheney in time for the first snowfall, which finally took place last Friday. The idea is to match volunteers, especially local students in need of community service hours, with Cheney residents who are unable to shovel their walkways and sidewalks for whatever reason.
It’s an idea Taves has been mulling around for a while, even as far back as this summer and fall when he was campaigning for reelection to the Cheney City Council. Growing up in St. Paul, Minn., Taves said neighbors simply took it on themselves to take care of other’s walkways and sidewalks when it snowed, and could always be relied upon to do so.
“I’ve found in Cheney, that’s frequently not the case,” Taves said in an interview this past fall.
Snow Angels hopefully will change that. Currently Taves has 17 Cheney High School students signed up to provide shoveling services, with two of them – senior Hannah Simonsen and junior Alicia Hubbard – ready to take care of walkways last weekend when accumulations were forecasted.
“I thought I’d start with the high school kids and see how it goes,” Taves said.
Eventually he’d like to bring in Eastern Washington University students as well. Taves has approached officials at the university, but believes there are some logistics that need to be worked out, and hopes to approach them again after students return in January.
The way Snow Angels works is Taves goes down the list of volunteers to contact them ahead of time when snow is forecast for the region to make sure they are available. After the snow stops, volunteers head to an assigned resident – with their own or with pre-arranged transportation – with shovel in hand to take care of the snow.
While it’s helpful, Taves said volunteers don’t need to have their own shovel. He has made arrangements with Tom Jarms of Jarms Hardware who has agreed to provide some shovels if necessary. Taves has also arranged with several individuals who have snowblowers to handle larger jobs.
“That’s in case we get a big storm,” Taves said.
Taves said he really needs people who are unable to take care of their walkways after it snows. Currently he has identified two residents who need this assistance, and hopes more will contact him as soon as possible.
“I’m hoping to find people who need shoveling help, and I know you’re out there,” Taves said.
Taves hopes eventually to have enough volunteers to not only handle a heavy load with residents needing assistance but also be able to go out and clear sidewalks for students going to school. He has talked with the Cheney School District to identify “Safe School” routes, but can’t tackle that until the organization is a bit larger.
To request Snow Angels service or to volunteer, contact Taves at 559-5670 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
John McCallum can be reached at email@example.com.