Revelstoke spirit: Volunteer group seeks snow shovellers to help neighbours maintain connection

Revelstoke Unstuck has helped those in need through the pandemic, connecting those in need of a hand with neighbours who want a way to help, building new connections along the way.

Local superstars (from left) Ella Carmichael, Sandra Gregory, and Céline Rytz are co-organizers of the Revelstoke Unstuck group, which has been organizing volunteers to help neighbours who can't shovel snow and build friendships along the way. Photo: Zoya Lynch/Revelstoke Unstuck

One group that has been a beacon of Revelstoke community resiliency through the pandemic is the informal Revelstoke Unstuck volunteer group, which has been organizing snow shovelling for people who can’t do it themselves, such as seniors or those with mobility and health challenges who can’t afford to pay for snow removal.

In a telephone conversation, volunteer organizer Sandra Gregory said the group, which is organized through the Revelstoke Unstuck Facebook group, helps with a practical issue for residents — Revelstoke snow — but has led to personal community connections far deeper than even our legendary powder.

She said Revelstoke Unstuck makes matches between people who need help and neighbours who can help, establishing a regular personal connection for those who have mobility challenges and sometimes rarely leave home in winter due to the snow.

“This has been hugely rewarding for both parties as it gives someone who may be feeling vulnerable a sense of security in seeing the same friendly familiar face each time and also form a bond,” Gregory said in a post. “For some, we have been the only face they see because of the pandemic.”

Because some volunteers have moved on, Gregory said the group is seeking new ones to match up with neighbours who need a hand. It can be as easy as when you shovel your driveway, you do theirs too and say hello.

“If there is anyone … wanting to help out one of regulars and/or another volunteer that would like to help support one of our regulars this season, please just let us know by getting in touch. We have regulars all over Revy,” Gregory said.

Interesting note: although the group is organized mainly through a Facebook page, many of the clients don’t use social media or computers, so the on-the-ground coordinating often happens over the telephone. Gregory said it’s a reminder of how different our experiences have been through the pandemic.

Gregory told me of the profuse thanks that some clients have for the help, how blown away they’ve been by the kindness of strangers, and what a positive impact it’s had for everyone involved in the new connection.

It means many who can now get outside in the winter.

Her stories open your eyes and bring tears to them as well.

To connect, see the Revelstoke Unstuck Facebook group page. If possible, they prefer to communicate through the Facebook group, but can also be reached through Revy Helpline at 250-837-8131, and say you’re looking for Revelstoke Unstuck.

Read a archive story about the Revelstoke Unstuck group by the Revelstoke Women’s Shelter Society here:

Help look out for seniors in Revelstoke through COVID-19 challenges