Project Firewood Stokes Community's Desire To Give Back

By: Dave Byknish Email
By: Dave Byknish Email

The dense fog had barely lifted Saturday morning when the sound of chainsaws and log splitters began echoing through the town of Shenandoah. Project Firewood was underway at the crack of dawn.

"This community is incredible," said Annie Schupner, the project's founder. "It's just incredible. You ask, and they're there one hundred percent, because at some point, somebody has been in this situation."

The idea is that by cutting and delivering free firewood to neighbors in need, they can then use the money that they were going to pay to heat their homes or water on another bill.

That's why Jesse Alger was up early helping out. He planned on taking some wood home for his elderly mom.

"She's on a fixed income so she really can't afford it," he said. If we have to, we buy the wood. If we can cut it, we cut it and bring it to her. Whatever it takes to keep her warm because she likes it warm. She likes it at about 90 degrees."

This year almost fifty families signed up for some of the firewood. That's more than last year, so more volunteers were needed.

Even though she could get some community service hours in, tenth grader Amanda Coppage didn't mind lending a hand.

"I just like getting out and helping people and it's just something me and my family can do together," she said. "We like cutting wood and doing stuff together and then helping others. And last year, a lot of people got helped. I see some of the families from last year out here."

That was one of the things Schupner had in mind when she started the project.

"The whole point of this is to try and teach people to pay it forward," she said. "If you've been helped, help somebody else. It doesn't take much."

Project Firewood has given out over 150 cords of wood over the past four years. One cord could cost someone nearly 75 dollars or more.


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