Stowe Wheels for Warmth volunteers

Students and adults volunteer at Stowe Wheels for Warmth, which collects tires that no longer meet safety standards and sells tires that are still OK. All money raised goes to home heating assistance.

Last Friday I volunteered for Wheels for Warmth, a charity organization centered on collecting used tires and reselling them at affordable prices.

In addition to reselling, it collects tires that no longer meet safety standards, only charging a small collecting fee. One hundred percent of the proceeds collected go directly to emergency heating programs at Capstone Community Action, Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, and BROC Community Action.

Over the course of Thursday and Friday, students from both Stowe High School and Green Mountain Technology and Career Center dedicated part of their afternoon to help the charity. As a volunteer, I separated tires deemed good and bad by the Department of Motor Vehicles inspector.

Tires classified as valuable were neatly placed in a Casella Dumpster, later picked up by a Casella truck and driven to the Wheels for Warmth central location in Middlesex.

Tires that failed the inspection — reasons included being manufactured previous to 2011, or having holes/rips in the rubber — were placed in a separate dumpster and taken to be recycled, instead of ending up in landfills, where they typically wind up.

“It was an unbelievable turnout that resulted in a record-setting year for us, collecting over 550 safe, reusable tires to be sold, and over 300 to be recycled,” said Tom Hubbs, a Stowe Rotarian and chair of the Stowe Wheels for Warmth Event. “All of the funds raised at both the tire drop-off and the tire sale will go to the community action council to provide heating assistance to our friends and neighbors in need this winter.”

Since the charity was established in 2005, Wheels for Warmth has raised more than $400,000 for emergency fuel assistance, sold more than 17,000 safe donated tires, and recycled more than 28,000 unsafe tires.

Lilly Keller, a Stowe High School student, is an intern with the Stowe Reporter and News & Citizen.

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