OCTOBER 1, 1996

RALEIGH - Trees felled by Hurricane Fran and cleared by state prisoners have been saved for a Wake County organization that will provide firewood to needy families this winter.

"With inmates working to help clear downed trees across eastern North Carolina, we began looking for a way to put the wood to use," said state Correction Secretary Franklin Freeman. "We found Wake Opportunities."

Wood cleared from Northgate Park and Maplewood Cemetery in Durham has been taken to the organization's wood storage area at the Raleigh yard waste disposal site. When inmates clear debris in Umstead State park, they'll load another 40-50 hardwood logs for delivery to the storage site.

"We have enough split wood for the first few months of this winter," said Doris McCain of Wake Opportunities. "Usually we have volunteers from civic, college and church groups split wood and deliver it for us. This year, they'll just have to make deliveries."

The organization provides firewood to about 100 families every one to two weeks during the winter. Most of the clients are senior citizens. Wake Opportunities has provided the Wood Shop program for ten years.