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private business with non-profit arm
Hinton Rural Life Center
Hayesville, North Carolina
Cords Per Year: 474
Homes Served: 207
Hinton Rural Life Center is a Christian retreat center located in southern Appalachia. Their community outreach efforts led them to see that one of the barriers to people accessing stable housing is poor credit scores due to unpaid heat bills. In 2013, Hinton decided to start a firewood ministry to provide heating to community members in need. The ministry has grown tremendously. On “Firewood Wednesdays” in colder months, Hinton volunteers or
“woodchuckers” are in the wood lot processing and loading wood for those who physically and/or financially need support. Last year Hinton’s “woodchuckers” processed 385 cords of wood for 205 families.
Second Mesa, Arizona
Cords Per Year: 350
Homes Served: 2,000
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 community’s firewood bank, is located about one mile outside of Sheridan, Montana, a small town (700 population) known as the “heart of the Ruby Valley.” A local rancher generously donated about an acre of ground to the firewood bank “in perpetuity," where wood is processed and stored. The volunteers at the Ruby Valley firewood bank work 2-3 days a week to keep up with the need. Logs are purchased from a local supplier and the wood bank processes over 120 cords of wood. A simple financial screening process is used to determine eligibility but no one is turned away if they are in need. According to Frank Ford, the Ruby Valley’s Executive Director, “if someone is in need, or if they got hurt or are sick, we take care of them.”
Nez Perce Tribe Supplemental Firewood Program
Cords Per Year: 400
Homes Served: 200
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.
Oglala Lakota Cultural & Economic Revitalization Initiative (OLCERI)
Pine Ridge, South Dakota
Cords Per Year: 300
Homes Served: 150
The Ogalala Lakota Cultural and Economic Revitalization Initiative (OLCERI) is a 501 (c)(3) that focuses on local community self-sufficiency. They have been in operation for 17 years. They have a large bunking area (including a sawmill on site) and take logs (insect or fire killed trees) by the semi-load, harvested from forests on the reservation. OLCERI prioritizes delivery to elders and disabled people first, then to single parent households. OLCERI has a drying shed that holds 14 cords and uses plastic liquid totes (each holds ½ cord of wood) that can double as delivery boxes. OLCERI cuts out the bladder and uses it as a roof, helping keep the wooddry.
Pikunivi Wood Haulers
Second Mesa, Arizona
Cords Per Year: 130
Homes Served: 240
The Pikunivi Wood Haulers (PKH) began distributing wood in the fall of 1997 as a for-profit business. In 2019, they partnered with Chizh for Cheiis, a grassroots organization, to help provide free firewood for high risk elders on the Navajo nation. Last year PKH worked with Red Feather, a non-profit organization to provide 91 cords of firewood to 183 families in need through its Hopi emergency firewood program. PVH is doing important work. According to PKH owner Charleston Lewis, “I’ve been inside some of these houses, some are very poor; there are busted windows, no insulation. It’s very sad when you go to some houses and see they are burning furniture or even old shoes. People are very thankful for the wood.”