Chalmers Green Team a dream team
Dynamic duo provided lawn care for seniors in need
BY SHELDON BIRNIE
Deborah Mahler knew her yard needed attending to. Big time. But she was at a loss when it came to tackling the job.
“My yard was a jungle,” said Mahler, a disabled Chalmers area senior. “With the rains we had early in the season, it went berserk. I thought my neighbours were going to hate me.”
Not only was she unable to do the work herself, she had no equipment for anyone else to do it, either.
“It’s all been stolen,” she said. “And I don’t have a lot of family.”
One day, earlier this summer, Mahler received a card in the mail from the Chalmers Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation’s Green Team offering lawn care service. After giving it some thought, Mahler said she went out on a limb and called the number provided.
“They came out right away, and they were absolutely wonderful,” Mahler said. “They brought their own equipment, and my lawn literally ate the weed eater. They had to leave, but they came back and finished the job. They were miracle workers.”
Summer Fiddler and Ryann Moar were the CNRC Green Team staff this summer, positions funded through the provincial summer grant program. The two maintained the Beautify Elmwood flower boxes throughout the community, picked up trash off the streets, took care of the grounds at 180 Poplar Ave., and offered lawn-care service to members of the community in need.
“The work is very good, I enjoyed helping around the community and meeting everyone,” said Moar, a 22-year-old Elmwood resident. “It’s very important making connections like that in the community, especially those who need a little more help.”
“It was really great,” added Fiddler, a 21-year-old who grew up in the area. “Everyone’s really kind here in Chalmers. We did a lot of work with people, seniors, some of them are blind and had injuries who couldn’t take care of their own lawns.”
“It’s a service,” explained Arlene Reid, community events and early year co-ordinator with CNRC. “We only had four households who we did it for (this year), but it’s a program we’d like to expand upon.”
The biggest challenge the Green Team faced this summer was a lack of equipment.
“We’re working on getting new equipment, because we just have the push mower,” Fiddler said.
“We ask that they provide equipment themselves, but many don’t have that,” Reid said. “We were borrowing weed-whackers from staff here, and we’ve broken like four of them. My family donated one, since we had two.”
Although the program wrapped up at the end of August, Reid is hopeful that before next summer, the community will help supply the Green Team with equipment, so they can help more residents, like Mahler, who need it.
“They really need equipment,” Mahler said. “Chalmers area has some wicked yards, and a lot of people can’t afford it.”
For more information, contact 204-669-0750 or visit www.chalmersrenewal.org
Sheldon Birnie is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in journals and online platforms across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. A husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec hockey when he can find the time. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org Call him at 204-697-7112