'Adopt a Driveway' looks to help shovel snow for elderly

Sioux Falls, S.D. (KSFY) - The roads may be clear after Monday’s snow storm, but not everyone could say the same about their driveways and sidewalks.

One program to help Sioux Falls seniors clear that snow recently ended. Now a new partnership between the Helpline Center and Active Generations could be just what seniors are looking for. The ‘Adopt a Driveway’ program is brand new and looks to pair volunteers with seniors in the same area. Organizers said 90 seniors throughout Sioux Falls took advantage of the ‘Scoop It’ program. Now those seniors are looking for help.

“There was a lot of fear and sadness. Just what are they going to do next because they wouldn’t be able to get out of their homes,” Helpline Center President, Janet Kittams-Lalley said.

“Everybody is very, very worried and today everybody’s very, very nervous after yesterday’s snow. They have no way to get their snow moved if we don’t find volunteers to help them,” Active Generations Activity Department Program Development and Communications Director, Val Lietz said.

Last month, The South Dakota Department of Corrections shut down the ‘Scoop It’ program, citing staffing issues as a main reason.

“I was really upset about it because I’m disabled and I have a walker. I was upset because I depended on them,” Sioux Falls Resident, Cleda Gerhart said.

Without that help, even without much snow, seniors have a hard time getting out of their homes.

“I cannot go out of my house. I’m homebound because it’s too slippery and I don’t dare take my walker and go out. It’s really difficult for me to get out,” Gerhart said.

Right now, organizers said they have about 27 volunteers signed up for the ‘Adopt a Driveway’ program, but they need more people.

“They're not able to physically shovel the driveway and they just don’t have the financial means to pay somebody to do that. So to keep them living independently in their home, this was critical to make sure they have their driveway shoveled,” Kittams-Lalley said.

“It’s 90 people that are still living in their own homes. Still being independent. If our volunteers all agree to it I will have 27 homes covered. That means I still have 65 to go,” Lietz said.

“I’m hoping that they do have enough volunteers because I do need help to get in and out to my doctor’s appointments and stuff,” Gerhart said.

Organizers said if you are interested in volunteering for the ‘Adopt a Driveway’ program, call 211 in the Sioux Falls area.