Church stops firewood donations to needy

firewood donations

A church community’s firewood donations were really helping out families in Dunedin. They made the difference between being warm at home and feeling Dunedin’s cold bite.

That was before last week, when thieves stole the log-splitter used to make the firewood donations possible.

Dunedin City Baptist Church caretaker Malcolm Cowan says thieves cut through the chain link securing the log splitter, which had been stored in the church grounds.

“We were quite gutted when we came up here on Thursday,” he says.

“The only remains were the wee linkages that had been cut; that has been locking and securing it.”

He estimates it will cost around $4,000 to replace the machine.

Community effort

Until the theft, the church’s firewood programme had been doing well. It was a tightly-run programme that had the community contributing everything to make it possible.

Cowan and co-worker Harold Thompson say firewood programme supporters donated the money that paid for the log-splitter.

City Forests donated the logs from wood that had been rejected for export at Port Chalmers.

The church contacted nearby schools to find out which families were struggling and offered them free wood.

Cowan and Thompson cut the wood up.

Cowan says they’ve given away about 130 cubic metres of firewood before the theft.

“We fill a trailer up and take them some free firewood which they really appreciate. [We give away] about 2.2 cubic metres at a time on our trailer.”

Now what?

The theft means logs are being left on the ground, unable to be split. They’ll stay that way unless a new splitter is found or someone gets busy on the end of an axe.

“We can keep ringing up the wood that we’ve got, but we can’t split it unless we do it all by hand,” Cowan says.

He says he’s put a “pretty significant” sign outside the entrance to the church, appealing to the public for any help in locating the log-splitter.

The Dunedin Baptist Church in Concord asked anyone who had any knowledge of the stolen log-splitter to contact them or the police.


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