Ken Boje, owner of the Winchester BMR (left), and Vicki Cane, co-coordinator for HOL, are supporters of the Heat for the Holidays and Project Warmth projects. The projects operate until the supply of logs and kits are gone. Morin photo

Joseph Morin
Record Staff

MOUNTAIN – Community support warms up area homes this winter in what has become an annual tradition: Heat for the Holidays and Project Warmth.

These two projects feature partnerships with Community Food Share, House of Lazarus (HOL), and the Winchester BMR for the third year, to provide firewood for families in need.

Ken Boje, owner of Winchester BMR, enlists the aid of his staff and the use of his trucks to make deliveries of Eco-Energy Logs through the Heat for the Holidays program.

“Christmas is a stressful time for some,” said Boje. “The program will help carry people over the Christmas season.”

In a press release from HOL, executive director Cathy Ashby stated: “With the need growing exponentially, we will need community donations to supplement this program.”

In its first year of operation, Heat for the Holidays helped out eight families. In the second year that number rose to 28, and this year, organizers expected double the requests for the firewood.

Project Warmth involves distributing window insulation kits. Last year more than 200 of the window insulation kits were handed out.

Organizers are expecting the number of window kits used will stay close to last year’s number but the requests for firewood is going up.

Ashby said, “Through a recent survey and conversations with food bank clients, it’s clear that the majority are facing major challenges, as their income is no match for their expenses.” She added, “we have clients who wear their winter coats in the house because they can’t afford the heating bill.”

“Our communities have always been so generous,” she said. “It’s the assistance we receive from our neighbours that allows us to help so many people in need throughout our communities.”

The two programs rely on community support and often receive non-cash donations. For example, Ed Duncan, owner of JED Express, donated two trailers to store the 48 pallets of fire logs.

Fundraising for the programs is a year-long proposition. “We take donations to the programs 365 days a year,” said Boje.

The recipients of the logs and window kits are not always the same families each year. Some, through no fault of their own, find themselves in a position where they need help.

Vicki Cane, an HOL co-coordinator, explained, “You never know when something will happen to you. There are so many things that can put a person in a vulnerable position.”

A $20 donation will provide window insulation kits for three families, while a $63 donation will supply a week’s worth of Eco-Energy Logs and a $252 donation will supply a month’s worth of Eco-Energy Logs to a family in need this winter.

Donations can be made at any of the following locations, please call for more information: House of Lazarus (613-989-3830), Community Food Share (613-898-0781), and Winchester BMR (613-774-2700). You can also make a donation through the HOL website.

HOL and CFS can give charitable receipts for donations.