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211 overwhelmed with requests for winter help

11:19 PM, Feb 5, 2014   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- United Way volunteers are struggling to keep up with requests for help this winter. Agencies that assist seniors and the disabled with snow removal are overwhelmed with requests.

"I said look here if something happens to the house I can't get out.  I need some help right now," says Alonzo Wiggard.  He lives on Cherry Street in Grand Rapids.  He is in a wheelchair and has a hard time removing the snow.

Volunteers at the United Way's 211 say the demand is so great they simply can not offer help.  During two recent big snow storms four or 5 men volunteered for the United Way and helped a number of residents dig out. But United Way officials say the men have day jobs and are not available to help on a regular basis.

"So at this point we are not even making referrals anymore because we have more than reached capacity," says Sherri Vainavicz Program Manager at 211.

She says people need to start helping their neighbors.  "We still have a lot of winter to go," said Vainavicz.  "I'm sure we are going to get some more snow and we need to come together as a community and help each other."

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