Wendell Wood Bank uses $10K grant for equipment, storage shed

A pile of firewood waiting to be split. The Wendell Wood Bank spent a $10,000 federal grant on safety equipment, chainsaws, log splitters, a storage shed and other items to help meet the heating needs of households struggling to keep warm.

A pile of firewood waiting to be split. The Wendell Wood Bank spent a $10,000 federal grant on safety equipment, chainsaws, log splitters, a storage shed and other items to help meet the heating needs of households struggling to keep warm. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

Published: 03-25-2024 1:12 PM

WENDELL — The Wendell Wood Bank spent a $10,000 federal grant on safety equipment, chainsaws, log splitters, a storage shed and other items to help meet the heating needs of households struggling to keep warm.

Clifford Dornbusch, Wendell’s tree warden and the wood bank’s organizer, said state Department of Conservation and Recreation employees helped him apply for the grant from the Alliance for Green Heat, a nonprofit chosen by the U.S. Forest Service in 2022 to administer a national program to support volunteer firewood banks.

“I was really excited and grateful to be able to support our community that much more and be able to not depend on DCR, who’s been loaning us their equipment to process the wood,” Dornbusch said, adding that it gives the town “a little more independence.”

The Wendell Wood Bank is located on Montague Road, close to the state forest, but Dornbusch said it will be moved to a site near the Wendell Recycling and Transfer Station at 341 New Salem Road in the next few months. He said some of the grant money was spent on a shed to be built by Lamore Lumber and used at the new site.

“And that will hopefully be our permanent location,” Dornbusch said.

Modeled after food banks, firewood banks depend on wood donated following hazard tree removals conducted by the town, National Grid and homeowners. The wood is processed and distributed to residents in need. There are at least 100 firewood banks around the country and each one is eligible for a grant of up to $15,000 to purchase equipment so they can more efficiently process firewood.

Dornbusch mentioned the Wendell Wood Bank needs additional volunteers and sources of wood to meet its goals. Email him at innoculation@gmail.com to get involved in either volunteering or donating wood.

For more information on the wood bank funding program, visit firewoodbanks.org.

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Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-930-4120.