These success stories show the value of communities coming together to help those in need.
Woodbanks from over 15 different states, delivering a median number of 80 cords per year and an average of 207 cords, have received grant funding so far. Each bank comes with its own story of service and commitment to creating a more sustainable community right at home with nearly all of the banks being run by volunteer staff.
As of the beginning of February, applications for funding totaling $550,000 have been submitted.
Cords Per Year: 40
Firewood For Families, a ministry program run by Chesapeake Church, has provided free firewood to families in the community for over 20 years. Events are volunteer run and distribute approximately 50 cords of wood each winter to approximately 60 families a year. The funding received provided necessary tools and supplies to ensure volunteer safety while chopping and distributing wood. Families served have no other source of heat other than firewood and the funding helped Firewood For Families ensure ongoing delivery to our participants.
Cumberland Center, Maine
Cords Per Year: 40
The Cumberland Wood Bank, a program of the Congregational Church, is a volunteer run non-profit focused on providing heating assistance. Their mission statement is, “No one should have to choose between heating and eating.” One of the reasons the firewood bank started in 2007, was a concern that so much wood was being thrown into the landfill. They launched the wood bank to redirect wood toward helping provide heat to people in need. After 15 years of woodbank operation, the goal of their grant was to allow them to replace worn out equipment. This winter Cumberland is planning a Wood Bank Roundtable and hope to get more municipalities involved and additional firewood banks launched.
Crestone Energy Exchange (CEX)
Cords Per Year: 20
Crestone Energy Exchange is an energy business incubator started by Donovan Spitzman. Donovan was inspired to create a for-profit firewood company after learning that a local non-profit, Neighbors in Need was spending $7-8000 a year buying firewood for people who were cold. Today Crestone Energy Exchange sources wood and organizes and trains volunteers and workers to process firewood and make deliveries. They are working to get a firewood contract from the USFS District Office that will allow them to take out small, standing dead wood and help reduce wildfire risk. Because of the pine beetle epidemic, the number of standing dead trees has increased by almost 30% in Colorado. Crestone is located in a “wildland-urban interface,” an area where wildfires are particularly hazardous.
Downeast Wood Bank
Blue Hill, Maine
Cords Per Year: 15
The Downeast Wood Bank is a volunteer group that operates with a 5 person volunteer board. About two years ago, they began to partner with the Blue Hill Heritage Trust, a 501(c)3 in Blue Hill, Maine. The Trust owned property, and offered Downeast Wood bank a site to process their firewood. They served as the fiscal agent for this year’s firewood grant. Before the grant, Downeast volunteers used all their own equipment and processed everything by hand. The grant has allowed them to purchase two new chainsaws and a high quality splitter. They are also planning to buy materials and build a shed for better drying.
South Egremont, Massachusetts
Cords Per Year: 14
Greenagers is a non-profit that was started to help get youth out into the outdoor landscape. They provide training in farming, forestry and other environmental skills. To them, the firewood
bank is great for building skills and teaching public service. The students learn how to safely use a chain saw and splitter. They have a small, mobile sawmill and also learn how to use a tractor
and drive a dump truck. According to Farm Manager Sarah Monteiro, “hands down the wood chores are one of the favorite tasks. I think because it's instantly gratifying.”
K of C 13452 Wood for Warmth Project
Cords Per Year: 50
Dave Rupp introduced the idea of the Wood for Warmth Project about ten years ago when he had leftover wood he was not going to use. Instead of wasting the fuel source, he devised a program to help his community. He describes the project as a “labor of love,” emphasizing that it is not their place to judge those they help or question how people got in their situation. Delivering firewood to homes is described as an emotional experience and continues to fuel the effort to keep Wood for Warmth working to serve their community.
Kearsarge Neighborhood Partners
New London, New Hampshire
Cords Per Year: 24
Kearsarge Neighborhood Partners is an inclusive and supportive community network that strives to empower people to achieve stability. A part of this support network is making sure their neighbors are kept warm in the cold months. Their firewood program is in place to provide firewood for those experiencing heating emergencies.
Second Mesa, Arizona
Cords Per Year: 100
Koho4Hopi is a non-profit that was started by Matt Honanie and his wife to help the Hopi people. The Kayenta Coal Mine had recently closed and people didn’t have a reliable source of
energy to heat their homes. Today they are partners in Wood for Life, a partnership that uses wood from forest restoration efforts to fuel indigenous communities that rely on firewood to heat their homes. Prior to the grant, the biggest issue for Koho4Hopi was how to move wood more efficiently. The grant has allowed them to purchase a trailer for hauling. They estimate this year they will process 100 cords of wood and help 250 households.
Nez Perce Tribe Supplemental Firewood Program
Cords Per Year: 500
The Nez Perce Senior Citizen’s Firewood Program, managed through the Nez Perce Forestry and Fire Management Division, provides firewood to senior citizens, elders, and other eligible participants within their community. On average, they deliver 500 cords of wood a year to 250 homes.
Petersham Community Wood Bank
Cords Per Year: 16
Located in a small town of around 1,200 people, the Petersham Community Wood Bank is made possible by the Petersham Forest and Shade Tree Committee, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and a core group of six volunteers. They provide wood to about 25 households per year and have been serving their community for nine years.
United Way of Lamoille County Firewood Project
Cords Per Year: 60
This wood bank is unique because it also gets some state funding via the Vermont Department of Children and Families to purchase wood in log length and serve families who qualify for Low Income Heating Assistance. Vermont understands that the wood heating community is not fully served by the state program and asked United Way of Lamoille County to help fill the gap. As a result, they have to ensure recipients meet income limits. Our funding will help buy more splitters so that they can make better use of their volunteers. UWLC also partners with the VT Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation. The State donates log length wood from trees harvested on state land around Lamoille County (approximately the equivalent to 60 cords of firewood).
Wood for Life - Chinle Chapter Government
Cords Per Year: 500
Funding: $14, 254
Nestled within the larger Navajo chapter, the Chinle Wood for Life delivers 500 cords per year to 500 homes. Many of these homes belong to tribal elders. The funding received will go towards securing the future of the firewood bank to serve existing participants and increase the tool inventory of the program.