Community Church Roselawn in Demotte, Ind., is a Christian Reformed congregation with a specialized ministry supplying wood heating fuel to families who could use the help. “Most of the people that receive wood from us are struggling to make ends meet, are older and have burned firewood all their lives, but can no longer go out and cut and split their own firewood,” said Rodney Versteeg, who leads the ministry and shares a portion of his fabrication business’s property to house the operation.
Got Wood firewood ministry started in 2017 and has given away over 700 full cord of firewood, delivering to 75 different families. “Most of our deliveries are within two local counties, but we do venture into a couple of outlying counties as well,” Versteeg said.The ministry collects trees and large logs, storing them in the yard until wood-splitting days, hosted once a month from September to May. “Our split days consist of anywhere between 15 to 45 men, women, and children coming to the “Got Wood” wood yard from 8 a.m. to noon,” Versteeg said. The volunteers then share a lunch prepared and delivered by other volunteers in the church.
“This ministry is so much more than us giving firewood to those who need it to heat their homes,” Versteeg said. “It is about the fellowship we have when we work together. It is about helping the people in the community that have trees down and need to get rid of them. … It is about giving these people some way that they can feel like they are helping others.”
Versteeg said they have had SERVE groups, a summer youth ministry connecting local churches to service work projects in the community, help out with the firewood ministry, as well as help from a local Christian high school during its service-focus week.
Got Wood started after several people from Community Church Roselawn had been helping another ministry with its firewood ministry about 45 minutes away. “The group of us that were going started realizing that we could use this type of ministry in our area,” Verseeg said.
It’s grown from the early days where volunteers “were splitting and delivering as the need developed.” Now, with the use of the yard and a large haul of standing trees donated by a farmer in 2020, the ministry has storage space for split wood to dry for the next season, work space to do the splitting, and space to keep discarded logs until they can be split.
“On our split days we can have up to 10 hydraulic log splitters running, six to eight guys running chainsaws cutting logs into splittable lengths … (and) as many as three machines to move the logs to cutting tables for the guys running chainsaws,” Versteeg said.
About the Author
Alissa Vernon is the news editor for The Banner.