Cumberland Woodbank fundraiser to fuel endowment

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CUMBERLAND — The Cumberland Woodbank, which has been serving area residents for about a decade, plans to start an endowment to indefinitely fund its fuel assistance program.

The nonprofit organization, based in North Yarmouth since last spring, will hold its fifth annual “Free Eat for Heat Wood Bankquet” dinner Saturday, Jan. 21.

The 5:30 p.m. event, to be held at the Cumberland Congregational Church (282 Main St.), is intended to raise endowment donations and also welcome people in need, as well as those who have helped the organization.

The goal is to maintain an endowment of at least $15,000. 

“It’s an insurance policy to make sure that if equipment breaks down, that we’re able to continue to operate without having to shut down until we raise the money to fix the equipment,” Woodbank Chairman Bruce Wildes said in an interview Jan. 5.

The Woodbank provides firewood to area families in need, and uses money raised from sales to those who can afford wood to buy fuel for those who cannot burn wood. It collected more than 100 cords of wood in 2016, and distributed 87 cords, Wildes said.

Funds the Woodbank raises at the Bankquet will be matched by money from private donors. Last year’s event raised about $4,500, just in donations at the door.

“It is a fundraiser, but it’s really an appreciation (of volunteer supporters),” Wildes said. “It’s our annual meeting. … We want people there who depend on us for fuel assistance.”

More information can be found at woodbank.org.

A raffle will offer a first prize of a new Stihl chainsaw, leg-protective chaps and a helmet, Wildes said. Second prize is a gourmet dinner for two, along with a pairing of wine, provided by the Cumberland Foodstop. Third is a two-wheel log carrier.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Bruce Wildes, chairman of the Cumberland Woodbank, hopes the organization’s Jan. 21 “Free Eat for Heat Wood Bankquet” will help raise funds toward a endowment, to be maintained at a minimum of $15,000.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.