Firewood For All by Luke Malizzo (Age: 16)
Updated: Mar 26
Days can get cold, and people need warmth. This can be an issue though, for those who don’t have access to wood which they can burn. This is the reason that MCC (Mountain Christian Church) of Sandia Park, New Mexico has created a ministry for local residents. The Wood Ministry gives firewood to local residents who are in need of it, and was started in 2002. The ministry doesn’t only give firewood to someone in need, but is also all about the relationships built, and the hands shaken.
This ministry was started by a man named Roger, who attended MCC at the time. He was between jobs, and was looking for a way to get firewood for the rapidly approaching winter, to keep his family warm. He got the tools needed, and began to fell trees around his house. This led to a friend of his asking for help with the same process. Roger helped him out, and another inquiry came in for wood, from a neighbor. Later, Roger told the leaders of the church about what he was doing, and how it could become a ministry. The church allowed people to call in if they were in need. This was a small issue though, because the church was just giving out wood. There weren't any relationships being built, nor people coming together. This became an even bigger issue, because people were using the system to get free wood, and even going as far as to sell it! The ministry needed to be revamped.
A meeting was held to nullify the issue of people selfishly using the ministry. A new plan was created for The Wood Ministry. People would need to make an interview with the leaders of the ministry. Long time worker in the ministry, Mike Oliver said, “The interview is held to determine if the caller has an actual need for the wood.” And if there was a need, then they would be asked if they had neighbors, or family that would like to help carry, cut, or split wood. Teams were being built much easier now that many people were pitching in. And as pastor of MCC, and a worker in the ministry itself, Frank Malizzo says, “When people have needs, they have relationships to turn to.” The new system started working much better.
MCC doesn’t only do this on cold days. They have teams who cut, split, and carry the wood all throughout the year. This leads to having firewood ready when someone is open to receive. The wood has to come from somewhere though. The local Ranger Station marks, and fells trees on the Sandia Mountains. This is where most of the wood comes from. Then the Friends Of The Sandias contact the church, telling them of felled trees that are in the way of trails, or that just need to be removed. Workers in the ministry are then able to collect those certain trees, and take them to be split. Also wood termites and bark beetles have been eating trees, killing them, and allowing them to be felled, cut, and given as part of the ministry. As long as the wood is going to the community, the Ranger Station is allowing this to happen. This ministry is really a win-win.