As winter storms continue to hammer the Treasure Valley, some residents are finding that the piles of snow are just too much to deal with. One Boise company is seeking to change that by creating a system that allows Boiseans to ask their community for help.
The project, called Shovel Up Boise, is the brainchild of marketing employees at WebMarkets, a Boise-based online marketing and customer care website.
“There are a lot of people out there that can’t get to work or even function because of the snow,” said WebMarkets director and owner Kris Lloyd. “Our marketing team, led by Joe Egbert, had an idea of how to help people.”
The concept is simple: If you’re in need of help, visit the Shovel Up website and leave your first name, address and a little about your situation. Your entry will be added to a running task list that lets your charitable neighbors know where their help is needed.
If you’re the one doing the helping, scout out a location and be sure to fill out the helper form on the site, which marks a job on the task list as completed. You can also contact WebMarkets at 208-514-1634 or firstname.lastname@example.org to let them know you’re taking care of one of the jobs.
Lloyd said the site launched on Thursday evening. Since then, more than 50 people have put out pleas for assistance.
“I need help removing snow from my roof. I am a single mom with sick kids. Thank you!” wrote one user.
“My 14-year-old daughter has been doing a great job shoveling the drive and sidewalk but the street is a different story,” wrote another user, asking for assistance from someone with a plow. “My mother is a heart patient and needs to get to the pharmacy for her meds.”
With numerous requests for help already, Lloyd said the real problem is finding enough volunteers to do the work. He said several WebMarkets employees have taken on tasks, but demand still outweighs supply. One woman that a WebMarkets employee helped was blown away with gratitude, Lloyd said.
“She was so grateful, and it’s so nice to see that on people’s faces and hear that,” he said.
Shovel Up is not yet a perfect system, Lloyd said. There has already been a bit of overlap of volunteers arriving at a task site to find it’s already taken care of, he said. He urged people to report their volunteer work to WebMarkets any way they can to ensure efficiency.
So what’s the future for the fledgling project? Lloyd said he isn’t sure there is one.
“As for now, we’re just considering this a one-time thing,” he said. “If we just help one person, it’s a success. But obviously our goals are bigger than that.”