Project W.A.R.M.

Project W.A.R.M. Heats Hundreds of Homes in Central Virginia Each Winter

Many families in Metro Richmond rely on firewood as a primary or supplementary home heating source and are without adequate resources to provide this necessity on their own.  To assist with this burden, The Salvation Army and Project W.A.R.M. (Wood Association of Richmond Metro) provide high-quality firewood to individuals in need in Central Virginia who heat their homes with wood burning stoves.

The 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 those in need in our community.

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 Salvation Army of Central Virginia, and the Richmond and Tuckahoe Jaycees.

The City of Richmond provides a woodlot for work and storage, hydraulic splitters, a dispatching shed and lighting for night splitting. 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.

The 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.

If you, or someone you know, is in need of firewood during the winter, please call our Social Services office at 804-225-7470.

 

How You Can Help

Volunteers are key to this rewarding and unique project’s success.  Wood is split (using gas-supplied splitters) during the Spring/Summer months (late Tuesday afternoons) and continues during delivery season (November-March) (from 9:00 a.m. to Noon on Saturdays).  The woodlot is located at a city-owned maintenance lot behind John Marshall High School off Chamberlayne & North Avenues.  Supervised children of all ages have found working on this project fun and rewarding and are most welcome if accompanied by a responsible adult.

If you would like to join the Project W.A.R.M. team, please contact Past Rotary Club of Richmond Presidents Durwood Usry (durwood@usryinc.com) or Mary Ann Wilson (LMAW1@earthlink.net).