Neighbors Helping Neighbors: Shoveling Program Helps Elderly, People with Disabilities

January 12, 2018 08:18 PM

(ABC 6 News)-- It’s another quiet day on what some residents deem “Widow Lane” in Rochester. Early Friday afternoon, the only noise came from a shovel as a good samaritan made sure an 85-year-old woman had a clear path to her front door.

“Our family grew up in a small town,” said Peg Winters. “And your neighborhood was your neighborhood, and you helped.”


Winters - a fitting name - is somewhat of a hero for people during the winter.

She wants elders moving into assisted living facilities to do so by choice.  

“My parents were both able to live in their homes until they passed because the family was right there,” said Winters, “but not everyone has family.”

Winters does what she can. The retired Rochester resident spends most of her time volunteering.

“I've painted, I’ve mow lawns,” said Winters.

And every snowfall, she's out shoveling.

Barbara Hielscher would do it herself, but, “The kids won't allow it. They don't want me falling down. They don't want me to have a heart attack.”

Hielscher's husband was 70 when he passed away. He used to help her keep the walkways clear.  She now relies on two of her children and Family Services Rochester’s "Neighbors Helping Neighbors" program.

“You need to be 60 and older or have a disability,” said the Family Services Rochester Director of Innovation, April Sutor.

Volunteers are always needed. Over 100 people require the service.

“When it's bitterly cold, there's people who shouldn't be out doing this [shoveling],” said Sutor.

Sutor would never ask for something she herself wouldn't do.

“April came last night,” said Hielscher. “I was thankful. So very thankful.”

Just another quiet day filled with kindness on “Widow Lane."


Hannah Tiede

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