Working on the wood shed here are Region 9 students Colby Frisbie and Brody Jamison.


In front of the wood shed, from left, are Region 9 students Titus Billings, Brody Jamison, Miles James, Colby Frisbie, Thomas Skinner and Haiden Gendron.


by Lou Marin

Shannon Glover and Gary Dolloff, along with a small army of helpers and volunteers, have joined together to create a wood bank in the River Valley.
Wood banks function much like food banks, giving out firewood to people in need. To date, hundreds of firewood banks exist nationwide, including programs in Bethel and Woodstock, with many charities and community groups giving out wood without calling themselves wood banks.
According to statistics, inflation is going down across the U.S., but the projected cost of keeping a home warm will continue to rise.
The average gas bill could increase up to 25 percent more next winter, according to a recent estimate from the Energy Information Administration.

Besides lending a hand up to those in need, wood banks can also be beneficial to local ecosystems, ensuring wood that otherwise wouldn’t be used commercially doesn’t end up going to waste.

According to Maine energy statistics, 9 percent of Mainers use firewood as a primary heat source, with no data on those using firewood as a secondary heating source. Throughout New England, a region prone to power outages in winter, residents in rural areas tend to use a combination of both heating oil and wood-burning stoves.


A wood bank works very similar to a food bank, supplying wood to people who might not be able to sustain themselves through the winter, the way a food bank or pantry supplies food to individuals experiencing food insecurities.

The goal of the River Valley Wood Bank is not to be anyone’s sole source of heat for an entire winter, with an on demand delivery of two cords of wood every three months, but will probably rely on social media such as Facebook alerts.
Glover says. “I usually see posts by Gary Dolloff, who is great at outreach, who in the past has directed others to families or older adults in dire need of wood and asked if anyone could help.”

According to Glover, the wood will already be cut, split and stocked before the request comes in. “We will take it from the wood bank to individuals in need at no cost.”

Glover contacted Region 9’s building program, where the first-year students were eager to construct the woodshed for the wood bank program, according to instructor Jeff Rainey. The shed measures 6x12x8 feet, according to Glover, which is a “Pretty decent size, but not overwhelmingly huge.”

Rainey said Colby Frisbie, Brody Jamison, Drew Quirion, Thomas Skinner and Haiden Gendron quickly completed the wood bank. “I am very proud to be teaching this group of students. The kids seem to do so well because they want to be here instead of required classes in classrooms where they have to be.”
These six students, with Rainey’s guidance, designed, analyzed both required building material breakdown and costs, then constructed the building.
He added, “Just consider the progress these students have made since they started day one back in September ’22. Most couldn’t read a tape measure, now they’ve designed and built their second building. I am a proud instructor!”

Rainey said the students learned proper building skills such as safe operation of tools, what materials go where, rafter layout and roof installation.


Built of untreated pine, Glover hand-stained the shed with product procured at a deep discount from Aubuchon Hardware.

The shed is solid and well built from the ground up, starting with a pressure treated base overlaid with a rugged Advantech floor and built with a pine frame and finished off with raw pine boards, which can be finished as board and batten to create a more waterproof exterior. All materials, including steel roofing, were donated by Ware Butler and Irving Lumber.

Glover says, “Thank you to those who donated towards the new wood bank. To name a few — Nick Waugh, Debbie Derouche, Gary Dolloff, Daughters of Isabella, Roxanne Gorham and the Region 9 Building Program. Thank you William Gallant for transporting the shed to its new home. And a big shout out to all others who have supported this journey!”

She adds, “We are ready to start taking wood donations. If you would like to donate, please contact either Gary Dolloff or me and we will connect with those in need.”

The wood shed will be operated from a private secure location.


Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: