A community update from the Beaverhead Community Wood Bank Ministry
Wood Bank Wanderings for Autumn 2020
With the cold months upon us, we hope everyone is prepared to keep their home warm, but if you struggle to pay the heat bills and other expenses, and you have a wood heat stove in your home, you can call the folks at the Beaverhead Community Wood Bank Ministry for help. The Wood Bank gives gifts of firewood to households in need. Last winter, 121 cords of firewood were given by the Wood Bank, to warm 51 homes in Beaverhead County. At 6 cents per KWH, this wood had an estimated heat value over $19,000.
The firewood isn’t free – it is priceless. It is a gift made possible by funds donated by many individuals and organizations, to purchase log-truckload of wood, buy fuel and maintain equipment. The Wood Bank also receives donations of wood, and enjoys the use of a wood processing yard and a log stockpiling yard thanks to the generosity of local residents. Contributions and grants this year have raised over $16,000 for the Wood Bank.
It isn’t just cash that makes the Wood Bank work, of course - it is thousands of hours of volunteer time contributed by individuals working throughout the year to cut, split, and deliver firewood to warm the homes of households in need. The “log” book shows more than 133 days of activity this year at the wood yard so far, and there is a heap of firewood to show for it. 35 volunteer Wood Chucks and 28 Montana Youth Challenge Academy Cadets “logged” a total of more than 1,160 hours processing logs into firewood since January 1. With more than 100 hours each, “lead” wood chucks are Ray Patterson, Rick Hartz, and Bob Bump. Whether it is one hour or one hundred, it is all time well spent: some outdoor exercise in good company, with a lot to show for it. Wood Bank work days are generally Monday and Wednesday mornings. If you are interested in volunteering, contact President Rick Hartz at 406-683-4506.
Deliveries started in September, with several households picking up wood at the yard by appointment, and ten deliveries made so far by wood bank volunteers. As of this week, 37 cords of wood have been distributed to 28 households in Beaverhead County. Applications have been coming in for review and approval by the Board of Directors. Income information from applicants is needed, in order to be sure the wood is being distributed appropriately. Generally, a household may receive up to 3 cords of wood per season. For more information about the Wood Bank, call 406-596-3690.
Above: Blaine VanMeter and Ray Patterson splitting wood at the Wood Bank last January. (Photo Credit: Beaverhead Community Wood Bank Ministry)
Above: Rick Hartz, Geoff Roach, and Bob Bump splitting wood at the Wood Bank. (Photo Credit: Beaverhead Community Wood Bank Ministry)
Above: Gerry Meacham and Ed Mooney guide another log from the Mooney Ranch onto the Bobcat driven by Bob Bump. (Photo Credit: Beaverhead Community Wood Bank Ministry)
Above: Rick Hartz, Ray Patterson, and Geoff Roach at the wood splitter. A cord of firewood is a pile four feet by four feet by eight feet. How many cords are in this pile? (Photo Credit: Beaverhead Community Wood Bank Ministry)