Hardy volunteers are needed to help chop and deliver wood to local low-income families and seniors who rely on the donated wood to stay warm during winter.
The county's "senior wood program," which has been helping people keep warm for more than a decade, is in danger of going under without more help, said Bette Worth, the executive director of the Gold Country Community Center, the program's umbrella organization.
"A lot of people don't really realize how many people need this wood, and we really do need volunteers," said Charlene Bumgarner, the volunteer coordinator for the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, or RSVP, which recruits seniors to do a variety of volunteer jobs throughout the county, including this one.
More than 300 people are aided by the program every year. In the past, the program has relied on about five or six volunteers, but now, only one is left to do the demanding work, Worth said.
"We have had some really dedicated people who like that kind of outdoor work, but now many of them have aged out and some of them have died," Worth said. Volunteers can help in several ways, including chopping wood and loading it and transporting it to needy people. Younger volunteers are also encouraged to help out, too, although mileage reimbursement and insurance are available only to those over 55, Bumgarner said.
The current wood program was initially organized by Bumgarner, her husband, Tom, and Jean Lutz, Bumgarner said. Together the three sought out a secure space at the Pacific Gas & Electric compound on Empire Street when concerns were raised that the donated wood was being stolen from its previous location at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.
"There was no way to keep people from walking away with it (at the fairgrounds)," Bumgarner said.
Those interested in volunteering should contact Worth at 273-4961.
How to help
Those interested in volunteering with the county's senior wood program should contact Bette Worth at 273-4961. Volunteers of all ages are needed, but mileage reimbursement and insurance are available only to those over 55.
To contact staff writer Brittany Retherford, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org orcall 477-4247.