Wood 4 Good program gets fired up for Franklin County expansion

Hundreds of Chittenden County homes have been warmer thanks to free firewood.
Published: Nov. 4, 2022 at 8:33 AM EDT

SAINT ALBANS, Vt. (WCAX) - Hundreds of Chittenden County homes have been warmer thanks to free firewood. The Wood 4 Good program started with a Jericho father and his two sons several years ago delivering free wood to Chittenden County families no questions asked. Now, the group has around 80 volunteers, but they need more to expand into the Franklin County area.

Evan Litseos is one of roughly 80 volunteers in Chittenden County who run Wood 4 Good. He says the organization will be taking its talents to St. Albans and other Franklin County residents. “I love getting out and stacking and cutting up a bunch of wood. And so I do that for myself, my own family, my own home, but to do it for someone else’s home brings a whole new level of satisfaction,” Litseos said.

Founder and CEO Eric Axelrod says what started as around 50 trailer loads to Chittenden County in 2019 has grown to over 120 loads this year already- which is about five to six weeks of heat. It’s a countywide effort. Some of this year’s wood was donated by the towns of Burlington and Winooski. “We believe firmly that we can reduce heat insecurity in our state. And you know, we’ve been lucky enough to lead this and we know that we can help more families,” said Axelrod.

Now, Axelrod says they’ve worked with St. Albans and have secured a place to store the wood to bring the heat to Franklin County. “I think maybe 15 or 20 people hit me in the first year from St. Albans. It’s like, ‘You know, you guys are actually 50 minutes away. It’s a long way away, right?’ And so even though it’s only one town out of our county, it’s far enough that we just can’t really do it. But we always had in our mind, here’s where the need is,” said Axelrod.

Now, the next step is finding people with a dump truck or two in St. Albans to deliver the wood. Town Manager Carrie Johnson says she’s aware of a waiting list with 20 or so residents and the goal is to have wood delivered by mid-November and early December. “We’re not transferring any down to our taxpayers, but also helping, so it’s just a really good feel-good project. And everyone who hears about it almost immediately says, ‘Yeah, I want to help,” Johnson said.

Axelrod says over time, their goal is to expand as far as they’re able within a 50-mile radius. He says the deliveries take place in the spring and fall months, pretty much until it’s too cold or too snowy to do so.

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