DownEast Wood Bank offering free fire wood for the Blue Hill Peninsula

Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 5:30 PM EST
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BLUE HILL, Maine (WABI) - There’s good news for people living on the Blue Hill peninsula who are struggling to afford wood to heat their homes this winter.

Tuesday was another day of splitting and stacking wood at the DownEast Wood Bank in Surry.

It works in much the same way a food bank does; collecting wood donations, and then making it available to those in need, one-third of a cord at a time.

“It’s a good way to make use of something,” said wood bank volunteer Ken Burgess. “Rather than just leaving it and letting it rot or taking it to a transfer station somewhere.”

It’s the first full winter of operation for the wood bank, which has about 30 cords of firewood on land donated by the Blue Hill Heritage Trust, and according to DownEast Wood Bank’s Tom Matthews, is 100% volunteer driven.

“The volunteer part of the program is essential to keep us going,” Matthews said. “All of us are here because we want to. We enjoy working outdoors and working with firewood but we also are here to help Mainers stay warm.”

The firewood is free, but those receiving wood are encouraged to pick it up and help load it before hauling it off.

“We also encourage them to pay it forward,” Matthews said. “By either volunteering with us down the road or volunteering with some other organization in the community, a food pantry for instance, to help pay it forward and make other folks make it through the winter.”

Along with providing land for the wood bank, The Blue Hill Heritage Trust also helped the wood bank secure a grant of nearly $14,000.

“It’s enabled us to buy a splitter and a couple of saws and buy some more wood inventory to fill in where donations haven’t been adequate,” said Burgess. “So it’s been a really great thing for us to get started. This was a big shot in the arm.”

The DownEast Woodbank is only able to serve towns on the Blue Hill Peninsula, but Matthews said they’re happy to offer help to any town or community interested in starting a wood bank of their own.

“Look into it, contact us and we’ll tell you all of our trials and tribulations in forming a wood bank. But the need is out there with the gas prices being high with the cold weather coming. This is a good supplement to families’ winter heating needs that they may have. It’s a doable thing as long as you’ve got some people willing to put forth the work.”

Along with donations of wood, the Down East Wood Bank accepts monetary donations as well. For more information about volunteering on their next work day, making a donation, or receiving firewood if you live on the Blue Hill Peninsula, follow the DownEast Wood Bank on Facebook, or send an email to