For the past several years the village has offered a volunteer snow shoveling program for seniors and disabled persons with little or no family in the area to help with snow removal from walks and driveways.
Trustee Alex Olejniczak (Dist. 2) started the program when he saw seniors in his district who needed help shoveling their walks and driveways. The program has since expanded village-wide. The program kicks off Dec. 1.
"The program relies 100-percent on volunteers," Olejniczak said at Tuesday's village board meeting. "We will have volunteers matched up with residents in need wihin 24 hours of a snow incident."
Seventy seniors have requested help with snow removal and are waiting to be paired with a volunteer "snow angel" during the winter. For some seniors who need to be able to get out of the house to reach doctor appointments or have health conditions that make shoveling snow dangerous, the volunteer program may mean the difference between life and death.
Students looking to fulfill community service hours for school, scouts or confirmation, are especially encouraged to apply. Adults or families who wish to adopt a senior this winter can also adopt a senior this winter.
"While the program is student based, volunteers don't have to be students," Olejniczak said. "Anybody can volunteer.
At the end of the snow season, Palermo's on 95th Street will host a pizza party for student volunteers, including some pretty nifty prizes, such as iPads, iPods and gift cards to local businesses and restaurants.
"It's a great way to get kids involved with the community," Olejniczak said, who along with sons has been known to knock off ten or more driveways in a couple of hours.
The Oak Lawn Police Department's own Sgt. Jim Pacetti is coordinating volunteers. The village still needs 70 volunteers.
Students looking to fulfill community service hours for school, scout troops, church groups or anyone who wants to help out a very grateful senior should contact Sgt. Jim Pacetti by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 708-499-7880.