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Avella Calls for Volunteers to Remove Snow from Seniors' Properties

Douglaston's civic leaders say initiative could prevent their members from being stuck in their homes or receiving fines.

State Sen. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, is calling for volunteers to assist his efforts with a Bayside church to remove snow in front of seniors’ homes this winter.

The senator said a number of senior citizens in his district are slapped with fines each winter because they have difficulty digging out snow on their sidewalks.

“Many seniors are unable to remove the smallest amount of snow and are completely trapped following the larger storms,” he said. “Unfortunately, they are still responsible for the snow removal in front of their homes and often receive fines from the city for not clearing the snow from their sidewalks.”

Bayside’s Shin Kwang Church has already provided 14 volunteers who will shovel snow for seniors in upcoming months.

Avella’s office is calling for additional volunteers and the senator is in the process of asking local schools to take part in the initiative.

The program would cover Avella’s entire district, which includes Douglaston, Little Neck, Bayside, North Flushing, College Point, Queens Village and Whitestone.

Northeast Queens leaders last winter.

Community Board 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece said some residents were trapped in their homes for days following a late that blanketed the five boroughs.

Civic leaders said Avella’s program would be beneficial to its members, many of whom are seniors.

Eliott Socci, president of the Douglaston Civic Association, said his group has not received many complaints about difficulties in digging out of the snow. But he believed the program was a good idea.

“I’m sure it would be a help to some people,” Socci said.

Tom Pinto, president of the Doug Bay Manor Association, said the civic’s founder, Ann Jawin, as well as some of its members often need assistance with snow removal.

“People wait for someone to come around and they never do,” he said. “I had to buy a snow blower last year. So, we think [Avella’s program] is a great idea. We’d support it 100 percent.”

Volunteers of all ages can contact the senator’s office at 718-357-3094. Students can receive 10 hours of community service credits.

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