The Rhawnhorst NORC was an essential part of helping senior citizens dig out of Winter Storm Jonas.
After Winter Storm Jonas dumped a record 22.4 inches of snow in Philadelphia last weekend, making it the fourth-largest snowfall in city history, many people had to dig out their driveways, walks and cars — a strenuous task for even the most fit citizens, but for the city’s senior population, a potentially dangerous one.
Enter the Rhawnhurst Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC), which has been helping elderly residents of Northeast Philly get snow off their walks and driveways.
NORC program manager Abby Gilbert said so far close to 100 people have called for help, but fortunately most of them have received service.
“Some say, ‘Don’t worry about me, my neighbor shoveled for me,” she said. “What that actually means is that Town Watch contacted the block captain, who got a neighbor to go over and do the shoveling for that older adult.
“We are continuing to follow up with the Town Watch and other volunteer groups about seniors who still had snow removal needs pending.”
Other volunteer groups that pitched in were JRAid, Rhawnhurst Turning Point Youth Center and Take Back Your Neighborhood.
NORC identifies seniors in need of snow shoveling in the lower Northeast through its relationships with them and their advocates. Referrals come to them through community partnerships forged over a decade including but not limited to local faith institutions, civic associations, police districts and legislative offices. It also receives requests from children of these adults through Jewish Federations and Family Services in other cities.
The staff works in partnership with Integrated Town Watch services and several other community groups to connect older adults in need of assistance with volunteers who can help. It also identifies before the winter season several reliable and reasonably priced contractors to recommend if the homeowner is able and willing to pay for the assistance that they need. Volunteers follow up on the referrals daily in the case of a snow event to confirm if the seniors received assistance or are still in need.
Rhawnhurst NORC, founded in 2004 is a program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia in cooperation with Catholic Health Care Services, funded in part by the Pew Fund for the Elderly.
Contact: [email protected]; 215-832-0747