Nightly News   |  March 16, 2014

Wood Bank Supplies Heating Fuel for Families in Need

A New England community has created wood banks to help supply families with heating fuel during these cold winter months.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> just about everyone who has to buy gas or oil to heat their homes is painfully aware of the cost of this winter's coal. helping to ease the pain for those who find it hard to make ends meet. rehema ellis on how it's making a difference.

>> reporter: new hampshire, famous for its natural beauty and for long, cold winters. around hawkington, wood stoves help, but just as heating oil costs are rising, so are wood prices.

>> hello, ladies.

>> reporter: for some, like retired nurse rosalee smith, it's a struggle just to stay warm. she can take a voucher, showing her need, to get free wood from the town's wood bank. it's like a food pantry . the wood for warmth program was started eight years ago when the nation's economy was headed for the deep freeze and her neighbors were hurting.

>> i looked out my window one day and said i'm surrounded by trees. there's got to be a way to get wood to people.

>> reporter: she's raised over $36,000 to buy wood for more than 40 homes over the past six years. donated, cut, stacked and delivered by volunteers like peter powers . his son, shawn, an iraq war veteran and police officer , died in a motorcycle accident. the program is named for sean.

>> i was so honored that they named the wood bank after my son, the first thing i thought of, i'll help you.

>> reporter: but she had to convince many neighbors to accept the help.

>> sometimes i would have to tell a little fib and say i've got all this extra wood and it's just going to go to waste. so, you can help me out by taking a little bit of wood.

>> reporter: at 66, rosalee is grateful, but still wants to do for herself.

>> i like being able to say it's my place. i'm heating it with my effort with some help from mary and the town.

>> reporter: making a difference. so, independent new englanders can stay warm and stay proud. r rehema ellis, nbc news, hopkinton, new hampshire.