Mainland Community Guide (34).JPG Northfield City Hall

Northfield City Hall, 1600 Shore Road is home to Police, fire and municipal offices.

Suzanne Marino

NORTHFIELD — City Council’s newest member, Democrat Susan Korngut, brought a fresh idea to her colleagues across the dais at the Tuesday, Jan. 23, meeting to help senior citizens and disabled residents. On the heels of the blizzard earlier this month, the councilwoman said, she spoke with several seniors whose sidewalks were not cleared several days after the snow storm who said they were unable to physically shovel the snow and there were no kids knocking on their door offering to shovel.

That launched the idea to connect volunteering kids with seniors. Korngut said the idea is a simple one that would compile a list of kids willing to volunteer to help seniors in the neighborhood. “There would be no payment expected, but we would hope that the experience will teach kids that it is really a great feeling to be of service,” said the councilwoman. She offered to coordinate the effort and would connect the nearest volunteer to the person in need.

The councilwoman pitched her idea to a receptive crowd of Northfield’s seniors at their January meeting at the Otto Bruyns Northfield Library. Councilman Frank Perri, who coordinates the seniors programs, also voiced his approval.

Councilman Jim Travagline gave the idea his full support and said he and his sons went out and shoveled neighbors' walkways after the recent storm but did suggest they should set some parameters. The volunteers would shovel walkways, entrance ways or a spot for trash cans but would not be expected to do driveways.

Several council members had concern over the city being held liable if someone was hurt while volunteering. Korngut, an attorney, suggested they have the homeowner sign a waiver, saying that should be sufficient to protect the city from liability and added, “We would never do anything good if we worried about every little thing.” 

All of the council members supported the volunteer program. Korngut will report on the progress at the next council meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 6 p.m.

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