On the eve of this past weekend’s blizzard, the WRBA was contacted by one of its members, Patti Eggers, who teaches at St. Thomas the Apostle. She had a half-dozen students willing to volunteer and shovel the sidewalk of elderly or handicapped residents. They all had permission slips signed by their parents.
It was now up to us to find residents in need — and to find ones that live not too far from the students. Luckily, the six students were spread out in a few different parts of Woodhaven, so that gave us some flexibility. We went through the membership lists of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association and the Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society and came up with eight potential seniors who lived near the six students.
A lot of this was happening Friday night, and it was a little late to start calling our seniors to see if they’d need help with their sidewalks, so we started calling them a bit after 9 a.m. on Saturday morning. And what we ended up hearing was very interesting.
The first senior we spoke with thanked us, she was very touched by the offer. However, one of her neighbors had been kindly shoveling her sidewalk for the past few years. We were glad she was taken care of, and it was nice to hear a story about one neighbor taking care of another.
You see, at the Block Association, we tend to hear a lot of negative snow-related stories this time of year, so it was a real treat to hear something positive. But it was about to get better.
Our next senior told us pretty much the same thing. A neighbor across the street comes across whenever it snows and takes care of her sidewalk. And the next senior told us that one of her neighbors, who she’s known since he was a young boy, comes over and takes care of her sidewalk whenever it snows.
These are the kind of things that aren’t supposed to be happening anymore. In a time where people supposedly don’t watch out or care for their neighbors, we heard one story after another that contradicted that belief.
It was news that we were happy to hear and made us proud of our residents. In the end, only one of the eight seniors we contacted needed help and two of our volunteer students went over later that morning and cleared his sidewalk and steps.
However, we are pretty sure that there are people out there in Woodhaven that could use snow assistance, and we’d like your help in finding them. If you know a senior or handicapped person who lives in Woodhaven please contact the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call and leave a message at 718-296-3735.
We’ll build a roster and see if we can’t find a young volunteer to adopt them. We can’t promise anything — no guarantees — but we’ll try our best to find some help for them.
Many thanks to the young volunteers from St. Thomas the Apostle — you give us great hope for the future. And if there are any other people out there who would like to volunteer and adopt someone, please let us know!
On a separate note: a last reminder that our February Woodhaven Town Hall meeting has been moved to Wednesday, February 20, at 8 p.m. at the Ambulance Corps, 78-15 Jamaica Avenue. We are looking forward to an interesting presentation by the NYPD on the Blockwatcher program. We are a group of residents committed to making our neighborhood safer for all; every single resident in Woodhaven is more than welcome to join our cause.