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Challis Lions Club President Julie Rodman sits around the only viable firewood left at the club’s wood lot. Rodman is looking for donations of wood, money or both to help keep Challis residents warm this winter.

After having a bumper crop of wood to donate the last few winters, Challis Lions Club President Julie Rodman said the club’s wood lot is looking sparse for the demand she envisions in the coming year.

The club has enough funds and donations for one truckload of timber this winter, but she expects she’ll need at least another two before the snow fully melts. Rodman intended to hit the ground running this summer and raise money via several community events, such as the Braun Brothers Reunion.

Because the coronavirus pandemic resulted in most public events being canceled, Rodman said she had no choice but to hold back on raising funds.

The pandemic hasn’t stopped the need for firewood, Rodman pointed out. There are still many families who rely on wood for warmth.

“When finances are tight, wood can be great way to heat your home,” Rodman said.

Last year, Rodman said volunteers spent 231 hours cutting wood that was given away in 61 loads to 27 households. She has no expectations for the coming winter, but she is worried that because the pandemic can easily incite panic, demand will increase.

In order to bring in donations of both wood and money, Rodman is calling on community members who have supported the wood lot in the past. Challis residents have a great track record of helping club members process wood, whether they be Forest Service workers dropping off a load of dead wood they would’ve thrown away or citizens who pitched in to help cut wood.

Help is needed, Rodman said, because only about six to eight Lions Club members actively volunteer at the wood lot. Without assistance from the community, organizing a sizable wood pile would be impossible.

To entice donations from community members, Rodman is planning a raffle. People who bring wood to the lot or donate money will receive tickets based on the amount they donate. She is still in the early planning phase, but she has a Savage Axis 30.06 hunting rifle looking for a new owner.

Rodman said getting a large community wood pile built up is an important task in Challis. Many of the recipients are elderly people who don’t have the physical capacity to cut, chop and stack wood.

Rodman doesn’t know how much wood her club members will give away when the temperatures drops, but she’s committed to making sure there’s enough. Proof of this can be found in what she asked for her last birthday, which was a chainsaw of her very own.

“I never thought I would be one of those people who owns a chainsaw, but here I am,” Rodman said.

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