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Roger and Susan Layne work to split wood for wood ministry with Main Street United Methodist Church in Bedford on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020.

Ministry at Main Street UMC, Bedford, featured in Roanoke Times

BEDFORD — A ministry in Bedford providing free firewood to qualifying individuals anticipates fuel needs will be more urgent this winter because of the coronavirus pandemic’s economic effects.

“With the COVID-19 virus, we’re thinking we’re really going to get hit hard this year, because a lot of people are out of jobs, or have been laid off because of cutbacks. A lot of the rental properties have been delayed on people having to pay their rent for two, three, four months, then all of a sudden this fall, everything is going to start coming due,” said Roger Layne, of Bedford, a founder of the wood ministry that launched in 2001.

The idea for the wood ministry was inspired in the mid-1980s, when Layne participated in the Society of St. Andrew apple gleaning at Johnson’s Apple Orchard, where volunteers gathered salvageable fallen apples to donate to local food banks. Layne noticed wood from apple trees scattered around the property and was struck with an idea.

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