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Firewood ministry helps heat those in need | News

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Firewood ministry helps heat those in need
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(WBIR - Greene County) When the temperatures fall, most people can turn up the heat, but others don't have the luxury of a thermostat in easy reach.

One group is hard at work each week, to help provide those in need a little relief from the cold. Every Saturday from October to April, from dawn to dusk, you'll find the Greene County Firewood Ministry sawing away at donated wood.

The ministry started in 2008 as a way for the community to serve those who struggled to heat their homes in the winter. In their first year, they delivered around 75 loads of firewood. This year, they say they are on track to deliver around a thousand loads. It's an effort that brings volunteers of all ages, the youngest at 9 and the oldest at 81, and people from all walks of life.

For some, its become a part of their lives.

As someone who heated their home with wood for years, David Andrew knew what it took each winter and hoped his experience could help. He first joined the group thinking it would be an occasionally volunteer experience, but it's now a routine that he's been doing for seven years.

"The enjoyment of coming down here and the fellowship," said Andrew. "It's much like a close-knit football or basketball team, it's just something everybody looks forward to doing."

Over the years, its gained the support of local churches in the area. Each Saturday, the group heads from church to church for a hot-cooked breakfast and lunch, then it's back to work.

"Feed the hungry, clothe the hungry, do whatever you can do to help your neighbor, that's what we are doing." said Andrew.

Bill Banner was first introduced to the ministry as an inmate through a work release partnership with the Greene County Detention Center. Now four years later, he serves on the ministry's board of directors and the wood ministry continues to play a big role in his life.

"It's the folks, the folks we help," said Banner, "They need it, they need the wood, and, it just kind of stuck my heart."

This Saturday, other inmates joined the volunteers. Banner and others hope the ministry will grow in the future, and that other counties will see their own communities need and start their own.

Not only a day of fellowship, more joy comes in the days deliveries. Miss May is a resident of the area and lives atop Viking Mountain. The group visits her frequently.

"I feel good," said May, "because I know I'm not going to freeze to death. Because I've got wood to stay warm by."

May relies solely on her wood stove for heat, and it can be difficult in the winter months.

"It's tough. I've been kind of setting up at night, keeping the fire going. Getting so cold, because that trailer is cold."

The ministry's work has been a special gift to her.

"They've been really nice to me and I love them all and appreciate what they do for me." said May.

It's a visit that brings joy to the volunteers as well.

"Delivering the firewood to those that need it," said David Andrew, "That's the part that I really like to do the best, know that they are being helped and realizing most of the time how much they really need the help."


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