MISSOULA, Mont. - This cold and snowy winter is hard on hundreds of Montanans. Some struggle to get around and get snow cleared away, but a social media group is reaching out to make a difference.
Missoula resident Judy Thayer has stenosis of the spine. She tells NBC Montana that she can barely walk and can't shovel snow.
Thayer also is on a fixed income, so paying for help is not an option.
For the last couple of years, volunteer Alfred Brule has shoveled Thayer's driveway and walk.
"He's really wonderful. He's been coming for at least a couple of years now. He came last year too. He's so great. He has a nice personality. He's always in a good mood. He's always smiling and wonderful. He's always here. He comes after every snow. He's very dependable," said Thayer.
Brule volunteers through a social media community called Imagine Missoula.
"There are a lot of folks who can't get out or afford to hire somebody to move furniture or cut down a tree or come over and shovel snow or things like that. It's really a need in Missoula," said Brule.
Thayer says it is hard for her to get her car out of her garage when the snow is piled up. "To me, it's a long driveway. That's a lot of shoveling right there," said Thayer.
Volunteers with Imagine Missoula are standing by to take calls for service.
"Calls for volunteers are sent out. People will respond on facebook and volunteer for that particular opportunity. They are wide and varied. There are many opportunities for volunteers," said Brule.
Brule tells NBC Montana he will volunteer as long as he is able. "The community has been good to me. It's a way to respond and give back to folks who really do need help, especially during the winter time. A lot of gratitude comes along with helping people like Judy. That's typical of clients we get. They appreciate the services," said Brule.
Without help from Brule, Judy's options aren't great.
"I'd have to move," said Thayer.
More than 100 volunteers work through Imagine Missoula.
Missoula Aging Services is helping to connect people in need with Imagine Missoula.
The Imagine Missoula hotline is (406) 748-MSLA (6752).