Using Nextdoor to Help Dig Out After Snowstorms

Written by Joseph Porcelli

Storms like Winter Storm Jonas can cause a great deal of anxiety and pose a threat to the well-being of neighbors who are older, injured, or have a disability.

For those of us in Washington D.C. over the past week, Winter Storm Jonas has proved challenging as it shut down roads, public transportation, and many of our lives. It’s important to remember, however, that doctors, nurses, and emergency personnel still need to get to and from hospitals, police stations, and fire departments in order to help those in need during the inclement weather.

With every snow storm that hits our area, I make sure to rally my neighbors and head out to help clear driveways, parked cars, fire hydrants, and handicapped parking spots to help out my neighbors in need.

A picture I snapped in my neighborhood after the storm. There's a car buried under there!

A picture I snapped in my neighborhood after the storm. There’s a car buried under there!

If you are willing to help shovel out a neighbor in need, consider posting to your Nextdoor neighborhood and letting your neighbors know you are willing to help shovel their driveways and sidewalks or remove snow from their vehicle. If you feel safe and are comfortable doing so, you can also offer to give your neighbors a ride to and from the hospital and also give the hospital a call to see if any of their personnel need assistance.

Keep a close eye on your Nextdoor app to see if neighbors are stuck and in need of help – they might send out an Urgent Alert if they are in need of immediate assistance.

A nurse I dug out of the snow so she could make her shift at the hospital.

A nurse I drove to work so she could make her shift at the hospital.

In addition to helping those in need and transporting medical personnel, please consider posting on Nextdoor and rallying your neighbors to shovel out:

  • Vehicles parked in handicap parking spots
  • Empty handicap parking spots
  • Fire hydrants
  • Storm drains
  • Bus stops
  • Curb cuts

When shoveling sidewalks and curb cuts, remember to shovel the width of at least 36 inches to allow people who use wheelchairs to pass safely. When you shovel, do so slowly by taking small scoops of snow and regular breaks. Remember to stay hydrated!


My neighbors and I made sure to shovel out fire hydrants in our community.

While you’re out shoveling, it is also a good idea to check on your vulnerable neighbors to ensure their heat is working and that they have plenty of food, water, and medicine.

Being in service to others brings me great joy. For those on the receiving end, it can make a real difference in that person’s snowy day. You can see how much a neighbor may appreciate your hard work in the video I made below of my neighbor, Vernial, whom I dug out with another neighbor of mine.

Stay warm, and thank you for looking out for your neighbors!

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