Members of Thornton Academy’s Interact Club gather at the Saco Transfer Station on Saturday to assist with the Saco Sand Buckets for Seniors program. LIZ GOTTHELF/Journal Tribune

SACO — Winter may not officially begin until Dec. 21, but already Mainers have had to succumb to snow and winter-like conditions.

Navigating footing on icy driveways and walkways can be challenging, especially for seniors.

Residents in Saco can bring their own buckets to the city’s Public Works Department and take home two 5-gallon buckets of salted sand, free of charge.

However, for elderly people who are housebound or can’t lift heavy 5-gallon buckets of sand, which weigh about 50 pounds per bucket, lifting those budgets of sand is nearly impossible.

Age Friendly Saco, a community group working to make Saco a great place to live for people of all ages, has once again partnered with the city to make winter a little easier for the city’s seniors, those ages 65 and older, by delivering to them buckets of salted sand they can use to treat icy outdoor walkways.

The program, called Saco Sand Buckets for Seniors, began last year with 30 recipients, and this year so far has had 74 recipients, according to Age Friendly Chairwoman Jean Saunders.

Plastic buckets were donated from several places, including Home Depot, Amato’s, Thornton Academy Kitchen, Corning Kennebunk and Shaw’s.

The committee teamed up with community volunteers and students from Thornton Academy’s Interact Club to help fill buckets and deliver them to senior’s homes on Saturday. Heading advice from last year’s recipients, plastic scoops were delivered with the buckets to make dispensing the sand easier.

“We are immensely grateful to them for this assistance,” said Saunders. Noting the early snowstorm that took many people by surprise a few days before the scheduled kick-off, she said, “This is perfect timing. “

To schedule a delivery of salted sand or donate buckets, call 710-5029. The Saco Age Friendly office is located in the Saco Community Center.

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 780-9015 or [email protected].

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