The white stuff will be falling soon, and the Ashcroft/Cache Creek Better at Home (BAH) program is once more ready to send Snow Angels to help people who need assistance shovelling their driveway and front walk once the snow comes.
That said, program coordinator Nancy Kendall notes that two of her best Snow Angels in Ashcroft have recently moved away, leaving a large gap. “They did the Mesa and downtown, and so far no one has stepped forward to fill their shoes.”
She realizes that being a Snow Angel is a lot of work and very physical. She adds, however, that Snow Angels do not necessarily need to clear an entire driveway, or shovel paths around a house, or clear runs for dogs in the backyard; they only need to clear enough to provide safe access to the house for residents and first responders.
She also notes that while BAH is not able to take donations for providing the service, other groups’ hands are not tied in this way, so partnerships are possible.
“If someone needs volunteer hours then we’d love to work with them. Our volunteers are stretched thin, so we’re willing to work with other groups. We want to reach out to other programs. Let’s all work together.”
Kendall says that so far this year only a handful of people have indicated to Better at Home that they need the service.
“We’ve seen neighbours doing it for other people on their block, and that’s what community is all about. If we have no customers for the service because of this, then we’re all winners.”
She adds that if people are clearing snow for neighbours on a volunteer basis, they can register with Better at Home for no charge, and the time they spend will be logged in reports. “All they need to do is send a text saying they spent one hour doing this driveway, and 30 minutes on another. Then we use these stats in our reporting.”
Kendall says that the biggest service BAH provides in this area is housekeeping, adding that different programs are popular in different areas. “It all depends on the area, and people’s needs differ.”
The fees charged for housekeeping are on a sliding scale based on a client’s previous year’s income. “If a new client is signing up we ask to see their tax return, then show them the scale and where they fall. There are different subsidy levels, and some people are completely subsidized by the program.”
Kendall says that some people who use the BAH housekeeping service even though they know they will pay the full rate do so because the housekeepers have WCB coverage and have all had criminal record checks done. “The money they pay stays in our own Better at Home program, which covers Ashcroft and Cache Creek.”
Volunteer drivers are always in demand, and Kendall says that Better at Home has contacted The Equality Project in Cache Creek—which has started offering rides to clients between Cache Creek and Ashcroft on Mondays and Tuesdays, as well as on Food Bank Wednesdays—so that the groups can work together to provide transportation.
“The Equality Project has a wonderful support system and lots of volunteers. It’s all about community, and supporting each other. We live in small towns, so instead of all these people running around, we need to work together. So we’re referring people to The Equality Project, and working with them, and it’s been working great.”
Kendall notes that Cache Creek council has asked about rejoining the local transit system, and says that people in Cache Creek have been saying for years that they need the service and want it back.
“I hope that if it comes back [to Cache Creek] that people will use it and support it. It’s popular, and everyone has a great time. I’m excited for Cache Creek to have that potential again. It’s moving in the right direction, so we’ll see what comes into play.”
For more information about the Ashcroft/Cache Creek Better at Home program, or to volunteer as a Snow Angel, contact Kendall at (250) 457-1019, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.