The snow is starting to fall and once again, the city is offering its snow angels program.

The program provides snow removal assistance for the elderly and people with disabilities, but it's getting harder each year to find volunteers. This winter is no different.

Abe Elmasri volunteered to be a snow angel to give back to his community.  He hopes the favour will be returned someday.

“You want someone to help when you're at that age,” says Elmasri.

More than 370 elderly and disabled residents have signed up for the snow removal program this winter but so far, only 30 volunteers are registered.  More concerning, Elmasri is the only volunteer who can actually shovel, as he's the only one with a police clearance.

“Most people don't want to go through a three week process to shovel snow,” says Elmasri.

The snow angels program was introduced 15 years ago until now, a simple reference check was all it took to volunteer. However, this year, the city requires a police clearance.

“Looking at risk of volume and people that need clearing, we thought it was prudent way to go,” says city engineer Mario Sonego.

The city will pay the roughly $45 for the police clearance, but Elmasri says it's not about the money.

“It's a lot of work, hassle (and) time consuming,” says Elmasri. “If it wasn't necessary it would be easier.”

On average, the city has about 50 volunteers for the program, but when a storm hits, there can be over 300 calls for the service. 

The executive director of Life after Fifty says it's an important program, one that gives independence to seniors who can't do the work themselves.

“It’s the small things that allow people to stay at home,” says Calvin Little. “As simple as sidewalk being cleaned can become a barrier to staying independent or staying isolated.”

Sonego admits he's concerned about the lack of volunteers and he's urging people to sign up and help out.

All registered volunteers will be entered into a draw to win a free iPad or one of five full year passes to Windsor’s new Adventure Bay Family Water Park. To become a volunteer, you can visit 311 Online for an application.