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  • Writer's pictureDarian Dyer

Profile in Compassion: Maeve Wilber

Each month we will feature a “Profile in Compassion” from a firewood bank to share inspiring stories of bank leaders, volunteers, or firewood recipients. This month we feature Maeve Wilber, Farm Manager at Greenagers in South Egremont, Massachusetts. Please feel free to suggest the next one!


 
Maeve using a chainsaw for the firewood bank program.

What is your occupation and background/relation within the community?


I am currently the Farm Manager at Greenagers in South Egremont MA, where I have been working for the last 2 years. I grew up in Berkshire County, so I have been a part of this community for my whole life.


What made you want to work at your firewood bank?


The woodbank is a part of the Farm crew’s winter work, but I felt really inspired

to take the lead on it because growing up my family spent a lot of time splitting

and stacking wood for our wood stove. I knew how rewarding the work was for

me, and wanted to continue that and share my work with people in the

community.


What motivates your work? In what ways is this work meaningful for you?


Visiting school group at Greenagers.

With farming, I love sharing with people what we grow on the farm. I think fresh

produce is something that not everyone has access to, and if I can in any way help

make it more accessible then that gives my work meaning. This idea can also be

transferred into our firewood program, helping people get the fuel assistance they need makes me excited to do the work.


What do you find most satisfying about the work you are doing?


The most satisfying part of this work is when I show up at people’s houses for the

wood delivery. They are so excited to receive the wood and are always very kind. I

also love when we have school groups come and work out at the woodbank.

School groups often split wood using hand mauls, and watching students really

get into that is exciting.


What’s the hardest or most frustrating?

Greenagers firewood bank

The hardest part about the work at the woodbank is making sure we have enough split and ready to go for the following season. We never know how many people are going to contact us about wood and we want to try and supply as many households with fuel assistance as we can. With so much happening at Greenagers throughout the summer months, it’s hard to plan and think about what will be needed over the winter.


What's your favorite story related to firewood bank work?


It’s always fun to teach students who come through here how to split wood by

hand. Some have done it before but many of them haven’t. I love when first time splitters have been trying to split a log over and over again, and when they finally get through it, it’s so exciting. You can see a boost of confidence in them when they split it.


What's a piece of advice/words of wisdom you have for other people working/volunteering at firewood banks?


The first thing that pops into my mind is to wear PPE! Woodbanks usually have a

lot going on and many moving parts, PPE will help in that environment.

Especially ear protection, you can’t get that back once it’s gone.

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