Wednesday, December 19, 2012
There have been 60 truckloads, 166 truckloads and even 300-plus truckloads.
Hauled in those trucks is firewood used to help heat families and individuals’ homes that have wood-burning stoves throughout the winter season. During the prime time of November through March, these people in need receive wood generously split and delivered by the volunteers of the Firewood Ministry, which is headquartered at Lake Family Church in Camdenton.
Fueled by hard-working volunteers and local organizations that garner “client” names to receive firewood, the Firewood Ministry is a benevolent outlet that allows residents to donate or have wood cut at a nominal fee with the majority of the wood going to residents in need.
For original founder Ken Peters, it has been an annual service that continues to grow, see increasing clientele, and harbor need for additional charitable assistance.
“When we first started this service we used a piece of property that I had. The Lamb House helped us find the clients that needed wood to heat their homes during the winter and has been with us the whole time,” he said. “We also worked with the county probation and parole office allowing those assigned by the courts to volunteer in cutting, splitting and delivering wood for community service. We would certify hours for them.”
“When it first started it was to satisfy their need for community service, but then it grew into a great ministry into where people need the wood. So now than rather than do what we do to satisfy community service needs, we do what we do to satisfy people that need heat,” he added.
For a short time, Peters said the ministry went dormant, but in the last few years it has grown tremendously. A couple of years ago they furnished 166 trailer-loads of wood to families and one year delivered 300 truckloads of wood to individuals in need throughout the Lake Area.
Fellow Firewood Ministry volunteer and Lake Family Church member Lonnie Pace said they have delivered wood to Eldon, Tuscumbia and even as far away as Macks Creek. They also regularly deliver wood for home heat to families throughout the reminder of the community including many who live on the Lake’s west side.
“We gave a guy a saw to cut his own wood. He called us and said, ‘I don’t have a saw to cut wood, I’m going to freeze,’ and we took him a saw. We have other ministries were we help disassemble and build homes, as well. Ken and I have traveled all over to help people with these projects,” he said.
“This is an effort by many different people, organizations and we don’t just do firewood. This is our winter ministry. We also do leaf clean-up, fix decks and hang siding, to name a few services. We also have helped in repair of homes during big disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, Biloxi and Cedar Rapids, Iowa storms. The same group built five houses in Mexico,” added Peters. “It is not tied to one organization or church either. There are a multitude of purposes of why God chose us put us on the path.”
Pace added that over the course of the Firewood Ministry the volunteers have helped 1,000 families overall in providing them home heat with the wood. They not only continue to work diligently with Lamb House and the probation and parole office for clientele to give wood too, as well as volunteers through the parole office; they also have other organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Camden County Child Advocacy Council and Woman 2 Woman who refer families in need to the ministry.
Pace said many people cut and deliver their own wood, however, they will come cut the wood for a $150 charge and take it back to have it split for the ministry. Pace said he also utilizes employees from his tile business to aid in splitting and cutting during their winter season to help in the ministry.
In addition to the 14-15 different organizations, businesses and individuals such as Pace and his workers like Paul Holderness and Ed Douglas, Peters and his wife Pat, Lake Family Church and Lamb House, there are numerous others who aid in supporting and promoting the Firewood Ministry. Peters said Phillip Nickel, Janine Peter, Jim Parker and Keith Brown are a few that have aided, supported and provided a strong nucleus in making this ministry continue to operate and grow.
In addition, the Firewood Ministry has posters and fliers at local businesses including McDaniel’s, Motor Hut, Jack’s Sporting Goods and RJ’s Restaurant in town where those who want to donate, volunteer or refer a family in need can contact the organizers or the Lake Family Church, which is where the wood splitting and storage is headquartered.
Pace said they expect to deliver more than 100 truckloads of wood to families in need this year and already have seen some families stop by the church to ask if they can take some or, if they can afford it, purchase wood for home heat. For the ministry’s lead organizers, they are always looking for additional volunteers to help deliver and split wood, donated or loaned trailers to haul it and of course references of families who need firewood for home heat.
“Many families are unemployed or can’t afford to buy wood. We have kids that wake up in the morning cold. There was one family that we were working with about two years ago. They were all staying in the kitchen at night because they had their stove on. They would come out of the kitchen and go into the bathroom and the toothpaste was frozen,” Peters said.
“There is a verse on the bottom of the flyer. It says, ‘And the needy shall lie down in safety.’ There is safety in a lot of things; you want to be secure in your house from vandalism or weather. However, heat is something you can’t live without in this area,” Pace added. “Some people heat 100 percent with wood and those are the ones that are about to break a chair to light a fire. That is our focus – single moms, single parents, widows, orphans and elderly. We are here to help.”
To find out how to help or volunteer services or resources or references for those in need of wood, call Lake Family Church at 573-346-1716, Lonnie Pace at 573-280-1371 or Ken Peters at 573-216-0566.