City group works to help shovel driveways for elderly, disabled

After last week’s storm, some people are stuck in their homes because they can’t shovel their driveways.

Keep America Beautiful is teaming up with the city to lend a helping hand to those in need.

Topekan Betty Dodder has some serous health conditions. In fact, she doesn’t leave her home unless she’s going to the doctor, so she needs her driveway for deliveries.

“I have my oxygen delivered, i have a visiting nurse, i have a house keeper, my groceries are brought in,” Dodder says.

She shelled out $100 to have it plowed.

“It’s half of my grocery budget,” she says.

Some elderly people or folks with disabilities can’t afford that, and can’t shovel themselves.

“We really don’t want them out there having to do that,” says Philicia McKee, Executive Director of Keep America Beautiful. She says the group tries to stick mainly to public areas, with beautification and litter cleanups, but when she heard from the city that there were cries for help, she couldn’t object.

“I have a lot of volunteers that are really touched by the plight of the elderly and disabled,” she says, “And I said, I will send it out and see if we have volunteers that want to step up and help out.”

So she’s working with the city to pair up with volunteers with the people in need.

“I think it’s really going to help them be able to get the services, maybe go to the doctor appointments that they need to attend,” McKee says.

It could also spare some from trying to shovel when they shouldn’t.

“A lot of people don’t know they have heart problems until it’s too late,” says Dodder.

While Dodder was able to pay for a plow this time, she says that might not always be the case.

“Thank goodness my pantry is stocked or i’d be in dire need this month,” she says.

If you need help shoveling your driveway, you’re asked to contact the city’s Housing and Neighborhood Development Office at 368-3711 by Wednesday.

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