Volunteers prepare firewood at the Cumberland Wood Bank site in North Yarmouth. Contributed / Rebecca Rundquist

Volunteers at the Cumberland Wood Bank are donating their time to help heat local homes this winter, a particularly busy one as rising fuel costs add to the demand for firewood.

The wood bank, which provides free wood to residents in need in the area, is totally volunteer-run. So far this year, more than 30 families have received wood.

“I just love the mission of the wood bank,” volunteer Mark Gauger said. “They donate wood to people in need, or they sell it and use the proceeds from that sale to buy oil or other fuel for people who need it.”

Gauger is among about 40 wood bank volunteers. Typically, from two to 10 volunteers can be found at any given time at the wood bank lot, which is located in North Yarmouth.

Volunteers stack firewood for distribution. Contributed / Jim Bailinson

Gauger, who owns a hauling company, volunteered on Monday to collect a wood donation to the bank. He has been volunteering since the wood bank started in 2007, and said his hauling company makes it a easy for him to do so.

“It blended right in with the truck and trailer, and I have the ability to provide that service for people willing or wanting to donate their wood to the wood bank,” he said.


Most volunteers spend their time splitting and stacking the wood and keeping the site in North Yarmouth tidy.

Jim Bailinson, a member of the wood bank’s Advisory Committee who has been involved in the effort for close to a decade, said he likes the idea of doing something practical to help others.

“It certainly makes a concrete impact on the families that are supported either by the wood bank donations or by the fuel assistance fund that gets allocated,” Bailinson said. “It also benefits the people who volunteer.”

The wood bank hosts corporate work days, too, when businesses like Idexx and TD Bank provide volunteers to help out.

“Those are really helpful because it’s usually a big group,” Advisory Committee member Rebecca Rundquist said.

The work is very user-friendly, she said

“We can pretty much use anybody who’s comfortable doing anything in terms of assisting,” Bailinson said.

The Cumberland Wood Bank serves local surrounding areas of Cumberland County, and those interested in volunteering can find more information on their website, woodbank.org.

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