While many pictures were taken, there were none to capture the look of shock that was displayed when local seniors saw the UPS truck pull up in their driveway to deliver a load of firewood.
According to UPS drivers who volunteered on Sunday to deliver firewood to seniors, the looks and expressions were priceless. As a reward, one client offered her delivery team pears straight from the tree, while another senior made her delivery team a peanut butter, jelly and banana sandwich.
“It was an incredible sight to behold,” said Gold Country Community Services Executive Director Sandy “Jake” Jacobson, when five UPS trucks rolled into the Senior Firewood Program storage yard at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday.
Each truck was staffed with two UPS employees, who promptly and efficiently loaded their trucks with help from a group of four airmen from Beale Air Force Base and a few “people with pick-ups” recruited by RSVP.
“I have never felt as proud as I was on Sunday for doing what we do,” said Jacobson. “And all I really did on this occasion was to express a need.”
Kathy Scott, the local UPS shop manager, did the rest. She garnered approval and then recruited the delivery personnel and developed delivery routes. Senior Firewood Program Volunteer Delivery Coordinator Lynda Groom provided technical assistance to the drivers.
The effort, which was completed in about four hours, resulted in 18 cords of wood being delivered to 45 senior households.
“Utilizing our normal process and volunteers, 45 deliveries could take up to three weeks,” Jacobson estimated.
Gold Country Community Services has coordinated a volunteer Senior Firewood Program in the Grass Valley and Nevada City area since 1982. The program was established to make sure vulnerable, low-income seniors, who have greater health risks, are not exposed to extremely cold temperatures. The program is entirely staffed by volunteers who have, cut, split and delivered seasoned firewood to approximately 100 low-income senior households each year. This year, after conducting a firewood drive, multiple wood-splitting events and this Sunday’s distribution day, GCCS expects to serve closer to 150 clients.
By the end of the day, everyone had sore muscles and a stronger sense of community. One GCCS client, who wasn’t home at the time of delivery, also had a “proper” wood stack. One of the airmen from Beale arrived to find no place to put the wood he brought because the wood left from last season was such a mess.
So rather than leave, he took the time to disassemble the existing wood pile and build her a nice, neat and sturdy stack — to use the airman’s words, “a proper wood stack.”
Applications for the GCCS Senior Firewood Program were taken in July and August. Those seniors who exhibited the greatest need were selected and began receiving wood in September.
Volunteers with pick-ups are always needed.
For more information or to volunteer, call 273-4961.