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Newcastle firefighter Jake Abbott and a group of Lincoln Academy students load a truck with firewood before making an emergency delivery to a Newcastle resident participating in the Community Housing Improvement Project’s annual home heating assistance program. (company photo)

Newcastle’s Taniscot Engine Company is working with the Community Housing Improvement Project to supply firewood to households in Newcastle. The firewood recipients are part of CHIP’s annual home heating assistance program, which provides one cord of firewood, up to 100 gallons of fuel or help paying for electric heating to residents of Central and East Lincoln County.

Requests can be made through CHIP, who contacts a team of volunteers for delivery. The volunteer team for Newcastle residents includes members of the all-volunteer fire service.

“Heating prices this year are more than double what they have been in recent years,” said Captain Jake Abbott of the Taniscot Engine Company. “We know this is a real hardship for families in our community and we want to help.”

On Friday, Nov. 25, Abbott led the first of what he hopes will be many deliveries of donated firewood to community members who need extra help this winter. Abbott, who also works at Lincoln Academy, recruited eight students and staff to load and deliver the wood.

“This is a great opportunity for students to work alongside our fire service team and help their community in a very hands-on way,” Abbott said. “Students loaded and unloaded half a cord of dried wood for a family in Newcastle. The “many hands make light work” approach really paid off here. This group was loaded into the truck in 10 minutes, then unloaded in about five.”

“Driving took up most of our time, but the students were excited to help and support, and even got to meet some friendly pets along the way,” Abbott said. “Helping like this is a really important way to learn more about your neighbors and community while seeing the impact of just a few minutes of your help.”

CHIP Program Manager Brittany Gill was equally pleased with the partnership. “When I first spoke to Jake, he said the Newcastle Fire Company wanted to help supply firewood for CHIP,” Gill said. “I didn’t understand that he was going to fight to help some teenagers. I like to engage different groups of people. It’s really valuable for everyone involved. I’m also happy to build a relationship with the fire service, because safety can be a real issue when it comes to wood supply.”

To volunteer with CHIP or request assistance, call 677-3450 or email [email protected] Donations are welcome and can be sent to PO Box 6, Newcastle, ME 04553. For same-day heating emergencies, visit your local city office or call 2-1-1.

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