Often, they leave to make deliveries before anyone has been out shoveling, she adds. Their vehicles are being turned off and on, doors opening and closing. As a result, they rarely get very warm in cold weather.
Another concern is when drivers find a home where snow or other weather has made it difficult for an elderly resident to get out, Hagberg says. Not only is it difficult for the Meals on Wheels driver to deliver food, but the person inside might be unable to get out and keep a doctor’s appointment.
Some communities have no protocol for dealing with such a situation. Marblehead, however, has a Council on Aging program in which seniors are linked with middle-schoolers willing to earn some money by shoveling.
“One would hope the neighbors would pitch in,” adds Peabody City Councilor Dave Gravel. “I’ve gotten out my snowblower and helped when neighbors couldn’t do it themselves. You would hope there would be some good neighbors out there.”
“It’s tough if the kids don’t live in your neighborhood. ... Snow shoveling is such a neighborhood activity,” says Holack.
And, like Meals on Wheels, it’s an activity that can only happen when people are willing to pitch in and help.