Work Therapy

Real work. Real progress. Real healing.

Wood Yard

The Open Hearth has operated a Wood Products business, which processes raw timber into firewood and sells to thousands of commercial and residential customers annually. Since 2011, mulch has also been sold at our wood yard and can also be delivered to your home. This labor engages our Transitional Living Program clients in cutting, splitting, and delivering firewood to residential and commercial accounts throughout Greater Hartford, as well as honing their customer service skills. The agency began this social venture in the 1920’s, in order to challenge, and empower men through activity and productivity. As residents work harder, they develop self-esteem, motivation, and viable work habits. The men learn a strong work ethic and practice marketable skills such as operating heavy machinery, assembly and production, and OSHA construction safety standards. Download our current order form for firewood or order online.


Open Hearth residents learn Culinary skills in a professional kitchen, managed by an Executive Chef. The Chef estimates that approximately 20% of residents performing work therapy in his kitchen go on to a Food Service career. Kitchen workers are responsible for operating all commercial equipment, preparing hundreds of meals weekly, and practicing the food handling and safety excellence that earned our kitchen its current “A” rating from Hartford’s Department of Health. ServeSafe certification classes are offered to interested residents, as is the opportunity to learn food preparation and serving. Participants in this work therapy area have obtained a variety of positions in both family and fine dining restaurants in the area.


On any given day, Maintenance Staff can be found shampooing rugs, trimming shrubs, painting an office, repairing sheet rock, sorting laundry, emptying recycle bins, repairing a sink, or washing windows. Residents assigned to this function learn commercial cleaning and minor plumbing and electrical repairs. In addition to cleaning and refurbishing a four-story residential building, the men comprising our Maintenance Crew learn and perform all seasonal property care and landscaping. Frequently, this work leads men to paid janitorial or property maintenance employment.