Civic News
Municipal government

Councilman’s office sets up Google Doc for shoveling volunteers

In Park Slope, Gowanus and Cobble Hill, Brad Lander's office came up with a neat, DIY tech solution to shoveling.

A Park Slope shoveling volunteer in 2017. (Photo courtesy of Brad Lander's office)

Have a minute to shovel for an senior neighbor?

Down in Park Slope, Brooklyn Councilman Brad Lander’s office set up a Google Doc to match stoop-shoveling volunteers with neighbors whose shoveling days are behind them.

In the doc, users offer their names, contact info and locations and whether they’re a shoveler or in need of assistance — and Lander’s office directs the volunteers to the stoops in need closest to them.

“It’s the best example of ways the community can come together,” said Lander’s director of organizing and constituent services, Susie Charlop, by phone midday Tuesday, as the snow fell. “The folks who get people to come over and shovel are always super grateful.”

Charlop said the district had received a handful of volunteers this morning. According to Lander’s office, this is the second year they’ve been using the Google Doc. Although it’s not exactly a high-tech solution — district staffers are still the ones dispatching volunteers by going through the list, looking at addresses and matching — it’s a lot higher tech than the system they used before, which was that some good neighbors would just email the office to say they’d be happy to shovel if anyone needed it.

Between four and eight inches of snow will fall today and into tonight, according to AccuWeather and there’s a winter storm warning until 6 a.m. Thursday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

All of which means, as far as well can tell, there’s plenty more snow to be shoveled, and with school canceled Wednesday, maybe also plenty of young, community-oriented laborers!

Series: Brooklyn

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