BOSTON — Across the Neighbors For Neighbors website, there are lists of people asking for help.
“I have 2 herniated discs in my back and need help,” reads one post from Jamaica Plain, asking for someone to shovel out their car on Grovener Street.
Another one reads, “I am a senior citizen, a widow, and I have just returned home from the hospital after having surgery. My car is still covered from the last snow fall.”
These are the type of requests that dot a map on the site. Color codes show which requests are still current.
Joseph Porcelli is the founder of Neighbors For Neighbors, with the title of “Chief Executive Neighbor.” He started the site in 2007 to help organize a neighborhood watch and community social after two of his neighbors were assaulted.
“It’s actually pretty amazing. We’re running like, 80 or 90 percent [response rate],” he says. “But we definitely need many more volunteers.”
The site uses a system developed by SeeClickFix, a website that allows residents to report non-emergency issues, like graffiti or potholes, to municipal officials.
Porcelli says he also wants it to serve as a community development tool.
“When you know people, your chances of being taken care of or you taking care of someone else is much higher,” he says. “It really makes a huge difference for folks when they get dug out. It allows them to get the medications which essentially helps keep them stable and out of the hospital in some cases.”
Porcelli has since moved to Washington, D.C., though he still maintains the site in his free time.
He plans to launch a new website, snowcrew.org, in early January, which will expand the snow removal request service nationwide.