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Imagine Missoula builds community through free snow removal

Posted at 10:19 PM, Jan 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-15 11:38:56-05

MISSOULA — It's safe to say we’ve experienced a pretty mild winter so far, but that unpredictable winter weather will inevitably hit at some point. When it does, you’ll want to be ready to clear your sidewalks before you get fined by the city.

Missoula residents are required to clear sidewalks of snow and ice by 9 a.m. on the morning following a snowfall, or else they could face a fine.

Depending on the circumstances, having sidewalks cleared every time winter weather hits might be unrealistic -- that’s why Imagine Missoula is lending a hand and volunteering to shovel snow for free all winter long.

Carly Kelley McDonnell -- one of the hundreds of volunteers at Imagine Missoula -- says being a part of the community means more than just calling the Garden City home, it also means playing an active role.

That role for her in the winter months takes the form of shoveling snow for her neighbors.

“Whether they can’t shovel their walk because they can’t walk safely outside or they have an injury, just knowing that there are other people that are willing to spare a couple minutes to help them out is really a big deal to people,” said McDonnell. “It’s heartwarming.”

Imagine Missoula operates as a not-for-profit, working with 13 different agencies in town to help connect volunteers to people that need help. Their list of services isn’t limited to snow removal.

The group also mows lawns, rake leaves, drives the elderly to doctors appointments, and a handful of other odd jobs.

Volunteer coordinator Ryan Hoskinson says the the impact Imagine Missoula is making on the community is much bigger than shoveling a snowy sidewalk or raking leaves.

“What starts out as an interaction between a volunteer and someone that needs help grows into these individual relationships that help feed the idea that when you are a member of this community and you have a need -- that you need a little extra help with. You can lean on the community and on the kindness of your neighbors to help you,” Hoskinson said.

Helping your neighbor isn’t just a good deed at Imagine Missoula -- it’s your civic duty. Click here to request help or sign up to volunteer for the group.