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For seniors, especially those living in rural areas, winter can be tough, and wood from Gold Country Senior Services may be a lifesaver. Volunteers are lifesavers too. In fact, they’re local heroes.

“On Saturday, September 25th, October 2nd and November 6th, the community will join forces to load and deliver wood to low-income seniors, so please save those dates,” encouraged Gold Country Executive Director Janeth Marroletti. “It’s become a big-hearted tradition,” she added, “as people roll up their shirtsleeves and offer their support. It’s definitely a workout, but also great fun, and all for a great cause.”

Ready to make a difference, each truckload of wood provides lifesaving winter warmth for local seniors, and everyone’s invited to pitch in.

Hypothermia among seniors is a serious issue. Johns Hopkins confirms that elderly people, especially those with illnesses such as hypothyroidism, heart disease and circulation problems are in the high-risk category. Certain medications, inadequate food, clothing and insufficient home heat are other contributing factors. Approximately 25,000 people die from hypothermia in the U.S. each year, and statistics suggest that those aged 65 to 75 account for 18%, while people 75 and over comprise 28% of the fatalities. More alarming still is that these figures appear to be on the rise.

“Our Senior Firewood Program addresses the need for additional winter warmth,” Marroletti explained. “People donate wood earlier in the year, and volunteers collect, split and stack it, so come autumn, the wood is ready for delivery.

“Seniors enrolled in this program often live in rural areas where transportation could be a problem. Many live on limited income, and they are frail. Last year we provided wood to a particularly vulnerable 89-year-old woman who lived on her own. During a cold spell in January, her main heating system broke down and needed costly repairs. For financial reasons, she had to wait until the following month. Thankfully, the firewood we’d provided earlier got her through that time. The note she sent was a touching reminder that our efforts helped her tremendously. Hers is one of many similar stories we hear.”

Volunteers who want to help load and deliver this year’s firewood supplies do not need to register. Simply show up any Saturday (September 25th, October 2nd and/or November 6th) from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at 12503 Brunswick Rd., Grass Valley. If you have a pick-up truck, that’s even better. Work gloves and refreshments will be provided, and every pair of hands will make an important difference. “The support we’ve received in past years has been amazing,” Marroletti said, “so I’m going to share my thanks in advance to those who have helped previously, as well as to those who will be first-time volunteers.”

Gold Country Senior Services has served Nevada County’s older residents since 1976, with programs that support health, wellness and independence, including plans for a much-anticipated Senior Center. For further information, visit www.goldcountryservices.org

What: Senior Firewood Program Community Volunteer Event
When: Saturday, September 25th from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
Saturday, October 2nd from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
Saturday, November 6th from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
Where: 12503 Brunswick Rd., Grass Valley
Information: Phone (530) 615-4541 or visit www.goldcountryservices.org