MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (PRESS RELEASE/WJMN) – Three local West End organizations serving senior citizens in Marquette County are teaming up through a Better Together Initiative funded in part by the West End Health Foundation.
Ishpeming and Negaunee Senior Centers, and Little Brothers- Friends of the Elderly have learned that access to firewood for home heating is a challenge for some seniors. According to Leslie Bek, Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly, “We know a warm home during long U.P. winters is essential to seniors’ health, well-being, and ability to live independently.”
While heating your home may not jump into your mind in the middle of the summer for some it is a year-round chore or worry. The group is currently using surveys to gauge the extent of the need and resources available to determine a feasible solution.
A survey for seniors asks the primary question “Do you need assistance obtaining firewood to heat your home? A second survey specifically for those who provide services to seniors asks “How many households do they know of are in need of firewood assistance and how could you help with a solution?
Elyse Bertucci, Director, Ishpeming Senior Center adds, “We envision a potential program that provides donated firewood during the winter months to year-round residents of the West End who are age 60 or older. Those who heat their home solely or partially with wood and due to cost and other concerns do not have a way to get the wood they need.
This would be a fuel assistance program that includes cutting, splitting of wood, and its delivery and storage. The program would not provide wood heat for the entire heating season but augment a senior’s supply to help with costs. This type of a program would be highly dependent upon volunteers and collaboration with Township offices and local organizations such as Senior Centers, that assist seniors.”
Surveys are available online and take less than 5 minutes to complete. Senior survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TVKXWCF (Survey will remain open through Aug. 15.) Service providers survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WSK66LJ (Survey will remain open through Sept 1.)
For more information, contact: Ishpeming Senior Center 906-485-5527; Negaunee Senior Center 906-475-6266; Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly 906-273-2575.