Snow keeps 'angels' busy

When you are lying face up in the snow, spread out your arms and legs, and then bring them in that is known as a snow angel.

For the employees at the Colonie Manor, a retirement community in Colonie, a snow angel is also an emblem of hospitality.

The Snow Angels Program, which provides snow shoveling and other services free to area seniors, was born after a winter storm in 2006 when Colonie Manor's executive director, Brandi Kerber, received several phone calls from people throughout the region asking if they could lend a hand in shoveling a walkway or serving a hot meal.

So that's kind of how we started it," said Kerber. "Because that tends to be when most of the needs come."

Kerber said that the needs of the seniors who call the Snow Angels Program range from requests for help to just wanting to hear a kind voice on the other line.

"There really has been nothing unusual," Kerber said. "It's always very reasonable, very simple things. One lady just wanted someone to talk to because she was a little nervous."

According to Meryl Wolf-Schreiner, director of community relations at Colonie Manor, the program has helped seniors in Albany, Latham, Troy and Saratoga. It has even helped seniors in Queensbury.

"Our first and foremost motto is that someone lives safely somewhere," Wolf-Schreiner said.

There is no specific criteria to fit to become a volunteer in the program, and Snow Angels operates only when there is snow on the ground.

As such, there are no definitive dates of when the program begins and ends each year.

"So if it snows in April, we'll be angels until April," Wolf-Schreiner said.

However, the Colonie Manor does have several programs year-round that promote the same community care that Snow Angels prides itself on.

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