Woodchucks ministry helps heat homes of those in need

By Ted Stokes
Woodchucks Ministry
First Baptist Church, Pendleton

The Woodchuck Firewood Ministry started about 15 years ago (~2005) at First Baptist Church of Pendleton (FBCP) as a spinoff from Baptists Men’s mission activities.  From those activities, a few members realized that they really liked cutting and splitting firewood and that there were people in the area with limited funds that needed firewood to heat their homes.

I do not remember anyone saying, “We need to start a firewood ministry.” We just kept getting together on Saturday mornings, enjoyed the fellowship, the exercise, the mental break, and the blessings of knowing that we were helping people and making a difference.  We incrementally began getting more organized, buying better equipment (self-funded), developing skills, and building a client base of local folks in need.


Woodchuck Ministry Purpose and Benefits

  • Provide seasoned firewood for folks in need (split and cut to useable length). Our prayer is that everyone who uses this firewood will feel the warmth and know that God cares about them.
  • Clean up downed trees in the area and use the firewood for those in need.  Saves tree owners money which they can donate to their church’s general missions, if able.
  • Offer the opportunity for anyone to collect their own truckload of firewood (non-need based) if they give one morning to help us harvest wood for those in need.
  • Fellowship and exercise – Work side-by-side with friends (old and new).

The Woodchucks quickly adapted to Covid so that they could continue their ministry. 

Participating churches

Members of several local churches are now part of the Woodchucks, but FBCP remains “home base” and a primary supporter by providing a space for us to store firewood and by connecting us with potential clients.

Zion United Methodist Church

Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church

Living Hope Baptist Church

Center of Faith Community Church


The Process

  • Season runs from Fall to Spring, with some Summer emergency calls.
  • Typically work on Saturday mornings from 8:30 a.m. until noon.
  • Weekly emails go out to the Woodchucks informing them of location and deliveries needed.
  • By Friday night we know where we need to be Saturday morning and how many deliveries are needed.
  • Then Cut – Split – Load – Unload

Last season’s numbers

November 2, 2019 to May 2, 2020 (6 Months)


Truckloads of firewood delivered to folks in need


Different clients/households served


Truckloads stored for next season


Workdays (typically Saturdays)

Average 4

Hours per workday

Average 6.08

Volunteers per workday


Total Manhours