Naples senior sand program to lend buckets, helping hand

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — Even the most athletic individual might struggle a little bit when carrying five-gallon buckets filled with sand. It is a laborious task to get the sand onto driveways and walkways during the winter.

Not to mention those types of conditions also come with ice underfoot.

The Town of Naples is initiating a program to assist senior citizens in the community with obtaining road sand.

The program was discussed during the Naples Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday night.

According to Naples Town Manager Ephrem Paraschak, the senior sand program would provide senior citizens with smaller buckets of sand. For those people who need help getting buckets into their vehicle, on-duty personnel at the fire station could give a helping hand, he said.

The town — like many others in the region — already provides residents with enough sand to fill two five-gallon buckets per snowstorm. Residents can get the sand, which is mixed with road salt, at the Sand Shed behind the Naples Fire Station.

For residents of Naples, it is a self-service system.

When the senior sand program starts, in some cases, elderly residents could have the buckets containing a sand-salt mix delivered. However, the exact details of how that would work have not been set in stone.

Selectman Rich Cebra introduced the idea during the meeting, saying it would be service to seniors.

“A few towns are getting spackle buckets and spray-painting the name of the town on them. We’ve got the sand. The buckets aren’t expensive,” Cebra said.

“They had a great response in Auburn, Gardiner and other towns,” he said.

“It is a goodwill gesture,” he said.

Paraschak said that he spoke with Deputy Chief Mark Scribner, who “thought it was a good idea.”

“They expressed some reservations about delivering all of them,” Paraschak said. “But, on the weekends, they could help load buckets of sand for” people who asked.

The fire department can get the spackle buckets and spray-paint the “Town of Naples” on them so that residents can return the buckets, Paraschak said.

He recommended that senior citizens or anyone needing aid with loading sand into their vehicle can just ring the doorbell outside the fire station. Whoever is on duty that day could help, he said.

“We will work with the food pantries and the churches to see who needs it,” he said, adding the senior sand program will be posted on the fire and rescue department’s Facebook page.

Selectman Christine Powers advised Paraschak to “let the fire department know some people may want the delivery.”

Chairman Bob Caron II said it was a good idea.

“Anything to help the seniors,” Caron said.

“It is a nice thing that could be available” fairly quickly, Paraschak said.

On Wednesday, Deputy Chief Scribner said that pre-filled buckets of sand are ready.

The fire station is manned around the clock so people may stop by anytime if they want smaller buckets of sand that are easier to handle, he said. As long as there isn’t an emergency call, the on-duty personnel will be more than willing to provide the pails of sand or to help with shoveling sand and loading buckets into vehicles of elderly community members, Scribner said.

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