Woodchucks still chucking wood

Wed, 12/23/2020 - 2:00pm

The Woodchucks are chucking wood again for the benefit of the peninsula’s towns  – Southport, Boothbay Harbor, Boothbay and Edgecomb. At nearly 70 years old, Woodchuck Bill Smith has been with the program for 12 years, since the group was the “Woodpile 10” delivering seven cords a season with two small pickup trucks and a wood splitter. Now, the Woodchucks provide dozens of deliveries every season.

“We're gaining,” said Smith. “We've been pretty good this year. This will make 28 or 29 loads, deliveries, but we've got plenty of wood for this year and hopefully most of next year.”

Boothbay Region Community Resource Council Community Navigator Hannah Corkum said she, Smith and everyone at CRC wants people to know the Woodchucks’ services, and the CRC Fuel Fund, are still available and accepting applications. The only prerequisite is first applying to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). All applicants go through Corkum only and are screened for income and residency to make sure they qualify.

Many families may believe they are over the income limit or unqualified for some of these programs, but still need to reach out when they have that need, especially during the pandemic, said Corkum. CRC’s Holly Stover said times are hard for everyone now, and anyone in need should apply.

“Some people make too much for LIHEAP, but they still make enough to pay for their own oil or wood … There are a lot of people who are unemployed at this time because of COVID. We know people are spending more time at home, they're more isolated, unemployment is higher and we just want to remind people that we can help you stay warm this winter.”

Smith said the Woodchucks deliver one cord of wood per application, but the group has been known to deliver an extra cord when someone is in desperate need. If applicants also qualify for LIHEAP, which provides two cords of wood, the three cords should be enough for the average household, said Smith.

Said Corkum, “I don't like to give out (figures) for qualifications … We kind of do whatever we can to make sure people get the assistance they need. Anyone who is in need of heating assistance should call and apply, period. We're going to make sure everybody stays warm one way or the other.”

To apply for the Woodchucks’ or Fuel Fund resources or for more information, contact Corkum at 207-350-1743. To donate to the Fuel Fund, send tax-deductible gifts to BRCRC, c/o Fuel Fund, P.O. Box 43, Boothbay Harbor, Maine 04538.