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Project W.A.R.M. Warms Hundreds of Homes Each Winter

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Released 11 March 2010

warmProject W.A.R.M. Warms Hundreds of Homes Each Winter

As spring approaches, The Salvation Army and Project W.A.R.M. (Wood Association of Richmond Metro) conclude another successful year providing high quality firewood to needy individuals in Central Virginia who heat their homes with wood burning stoves.

During the 2009-2010 home heating season (November-March), Project W.A.R.M. provided firewood to 252 individuals.

This program began in 1976 when its founder, Louis Wilson, saw a news segment featuring a single mother who was burning some of her clothes to warm her children, and feeling there must be some way to help her and others with similar burdens, he began cutting, splitting and delivering firewood to the needy.

As awareness of his efforts grew, so too did the demand for firewood.

To meet this growing need, Wilson approached other organizations, and Project W.A.R.M. became a joint effort among Wilson, the City of Richmond, the Richmond Salvation Army, the Richmond and Tuckahoe Jaycees. Richmond and Tuckahoe Jaycees joined the effort in 1989.

The City of Richmond provides a woodlot for work and storage, two hydraulic splitters, a dispatching shed and lighting for night splitting and Richmond's Department of Public Works, through its Urban Forestry Division, delivers tree trunks; from city parks and streets; to the woodlot.

Volunteers from the Jaycees and community split and stockpile firewood during spring, summer and fall then deliver it, throughout the winter, to families identified by The Salvation Army.  Woodlot and mechanical maintenance as well as gasoline for the log splitters are provided by the Urban Forestry Division and coordinated by Lou, who also recently acquired a third splitter.

The Richmond Salvation Army administers the program, handling the screening process and notifying the Tuckahoe and/or Richmond Jaycees after a qualifying client has been identified. The wood is then delivered to their home by the Jaycees.

In its first year, Project W.A.R.M. won the Jaycee International Award for "Best Project in Humanitarian Assistance Undertaken Within a Country," and "Best Project of the Year" at the Virginia State level. 

Weekly deliveries have been consistent regardless of weather or holiday calendar and this project routinely involves well over 50 members from the participating Jaycee chapters who log an average of 762 volunteer hours a year.

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