Dan and I made reservations three weeks in advance. They’re only open Saturday mornings and they fill up quickly.
The organization is brilliant. Signage indicates where to check in. And masks are required.
When it’s your turn, volunteers help toss firewood into your rig while crews of log-splitters work to replenish the piles.
It’s Nativity Lutheran’s Wood Lot Ministry, designed to provide firewood for people who can’t typically afford it.
Dan and I were there this past Saturday to pick up and deliver a load of wood to a single mom on disability whose husband has been in and out of the picture.
These volunteers don’t know our friend and her three children. Still, they work year-round to provide her—and so many others like her—with a generous gift of wood heat.
The story behind the story
The Wood Lot Ministry began delivering firewood to homeless camps in 2005. Two years later, it came under the umbrella of Nativity Lutheran Church, and Richard Berg got involved as Volunteer Coordinator.
The ministry eventually expanded to provide firewood to low-income families and fixed-income seniors.
Nativity Lutheran Wood Lot partners with another local church. “There’s acreage behind Seventh Day Adventist that’s covered with logs [laid out to dry],” said Berg.
It can’t be just one church. It’s a partnership, given the volume we’re dealing with.
Volunteers work through the summer and beyond to build the inventory up to where it should be.
Berg indicated that the average cost of a cord of firewood these days is $250. “There are roughly 890 trips through the lot each season or 270-300 cords of wood provided each year for those need.”
If we did the math, that’s $67,000-75,000 distributed in wood heat to people who might have to choose between buying groceries or keeping their families warm.
What if …
Mother Teresa said something that encourages me when I feel overwhelmed by the needs around me:
If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
Love is a verb, an action word.
If we can’t split and deliver firewood to every cold person in our area, what if we could be part of a team that makes a dent in the need?
Or what if we put our love into action by serving at a homeless kitchen, or organizing a craft project for homeschoolers, or writing notes to those who are shut-in during this COVID holiday season?
This wisdom from the book of 1 John:
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?
What if we looked for opportunity to show love in action—not only during the holiday season, but year-round?
Pretty sure we wouldn’t be able to contain all the joy.
Wood Lot contact info: If you live in central Oregon and are interested in helping with the Wood Lot Ministry … or you’d like to see something similar operating in your area, contact Richard Berg at 541-598-6029.