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5 ways to help your Greater Boston neighbors this winter

Because it’s going to be nasty

Jan Mark Holzer/Flickr

People who predict such things say the Boston region is in for a winter of above-average snowfall. Temperatures have certainly plunged of late. Now what?

Here are five ways to be a good neighborhood during the next three months or so. (Oh, don’t be so cynical!)

Volunteer in your neighborhood

There are innumerable resources such as Boston Cares and Volunteer Boston for finding out how to give of your time and expertise. Odds are the winter cuts into your leisure time anyway. Why not spin the hours into something altruistic?

Grab a shovel

Doc Searls/Flickr

Speaking of volunteering... If we do get snow—and everyone remembers what happened two years ago when they called for lots of snow—then certain members of the community are going to need more help than others shoveling said snow. Sites such as SnowCrew connect you with people who need such aid.

Give a coat

Staying warm in a New England winter is no joke, and one easily-taken-for-granted way of staying warm is with a winter-ready coat. Donate your current coats or buy brand-new ones (or organize a coat-donating party) through sites such as OneWarmCoat and City Mission.

Mind the homeless

The City of Boston and surrounding municipalities want to hear about people without proper shelter during the winter months and especially during the cold snaps when the mercury plunges particularly low. Call the requisite officials at the proper administrative numbers (here’s Boston’s)—and, if things look dire, cities and towns suggest you dial 911 ASAP.

Space savers—don’t

John Hilliard/Flickr

Yes, parking can be difficult hereabouts; but space savers don’t help matters. They often exacerbate the scarcity. How many times have you seen people argue over a dug-out space or someone leave a passive-aggressive (or nasty) note on a lawn chair, a traffic cone, or whatever else was plunked in a spot to let the world know the space is taken? Let it go. Either park or don’t.