(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Angela McKnight, Jamel Holley, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Eric Houghtaling, Nicholas Chiavaravalloti and Annette Quijano to create a municipal volunteer program that would provide free snow removal services for seniors and disabled residents has been signed into law.
“Even the most able bodied person can have a hard time clearing out snow after a heavy snow fall. For seniors and disabled residents, the task can be strenuous and even risky. For some, it’s simply not doable,” said McKnight (D-Hudson). “This will help connect seniors and disabled residents with volunteers in their communities who can help clear out snow and ice so these residents can safely enter and exit their homes and carry on their usual activities in the aftermath of a severe storm.”
The law (A-3381) gives each municipality the option to establish a volunteer program for the free removal of snow and ice from the entrance ways, driveways, and abutting sidewalks of residential properties in the municipality that are occupied by seniors and disabled persons.
“This volunteer program will promote service to our most vulnerable residents,” said Holley (D-Union). “It is an excellent way to ensure our seniors and disabled residents receive the help they need to clear out after winter storms.”
“Shoveling out after a snow storm can be an enormous task for our seniors and disabled residents,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “Encouraging resident to help each other, especially the older and disabled population, after a snowstorm is what this accomplishes.”
“Whether it’s going to the grocery store or filling prescriptions, having to shovel out after a snowstorm can impede important daily activities for seniors and disabled,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “A volunteer program will help ensure that our most vulnerable residents receive the help they need after a snow fall.”
“Seniors and disabled residents should be able to lean on their communities for the support they need,” said Chiaravallotti (D-Hudson). “Shoveling out after a storm can be a hard task for many but we must realize how difficult the task may be for our seniors and disabled. This is an excellent initiative that will help many residents in the most critical times after a snow storm.”
“This is legislation that promotes goodwill to your neighbors and encourages volunteerism in our communities,” said Quijano (D-Union). “The winter season is especially hard on our senior and disabled neighbors. A little extra help shoveling snow and clearing walkways will go a long way for residents who truly need it.”
The law encourages each municipality to appoint a coordinator to administer the volunteer program and recruit volunteers. Each municipality that coordinates a volunteer program will post information about the volunteer program on its website, as well as community notices, newsletters, or other communications made to municipal residents. The municipality will also share information about the program with local schools as students may provide a good source of volunteers.
It is the intention of the sponsors that this establishes a purely volunteer program, not a municipal or governmental entity that does not incur any costs to the municipality or to the recipients of its snow and ice removal services.