Snowstorms in our part of the world can have the nasty side-effect of trapping people with reduced mobility inside their homes! Now, volunteer groups across the city are trying to put an end to this problem by digging out the elderly and those with reduced mobility after snowstorms, the Montreal Gazette reports.
It’s a city-wide program; each borough gets a $10,000 yearly budget for its “Brigade neige”. The Plateau Mont-Royal team currently digs out about 60 people at each snowstorm.
Malian asylum-seeker Toumany Dantiogo says “It’s not such hard work. I’ve shovelled sand. I think (shovelling) sand is harder than snow. […]They need us; if we don’t help them, who will?” Another volunteer, Nigerian immigrant Bayo Oshoteku, is looking for employment at the moment and says he likes volunteering.
These Brigade neige teams are often made up of newcomers to Montreal, including immigrants and asylum seekers, as well as youth in search of employment. They volunteer their time to get to better know their communities and create bonds that will help them join the workforce. Volunteers get a monthly honorarium and a letter of recommendation from the city in April, when the program ends.
The elderly and mobility reduced benefit from the Brigade neige’s services by signing up through their CLSC or community centre.