Labor of love
Kane District Ramp Ministry comes to Warren
Mary Ann Lucas was “overwhelmed” when she looked out her window bright and early Friday morning and saw about a dozen people armed with all the tools and materials needed to bring back independence.
“All these volunteers are amazing. This is just wonderful,” she said as she watched a ramp being constructed on the front of her home. “What a blessing.”
Lucas, who lives on East Wayne Street in Warren, could no longer get her husband up and down the steep concrete stairs in front of their home. “My husband can’t walk,” she said. “Even the ambulance had a hard time getting him in and out.”
Tim Lucas wasn’t at home but knew the ramp was being constructed. “He’s called already several times to see how it’s going,” she said. “He told me, ‘I’m coming home.'”
Mary Ann Lucas said the ramp will be nice for her too. “I don’t get around that well either,” she said.
As the crew of volunteers sawed, drilled and hammered away, Lucas said, “Look at them. They just keep going. God bless them.”
The volunteers were all part of the Kane District Ramp Ministry.
The Kane District Ramp Ministry is an alliance of United Methodist Churches in Warren, Elk, McKean, Forest, Cameron, Potter and Clarion counties. “While we are a ministry of the United Methodist Church, we are a diverse group,” said Dean Clough, Ramp Ministry coordinator. “We have folks from other denominations and some who have no home church.”
Ramp building also brings all ages together for a common purpose. “We have youth who help with ramps. One who is 14 has been helping during the summer for a couple of years,” Clough said. “We have people who are still working and some who are retired, ages range up to 80 years old.”
The ministry was started in 2015, according to Clough. It is based solely on donations for materials and volunteer labor.
The organization’s mission is to design and install semi-permanent ramps on the homes of those in need as an active demonstration of the love of Jesus. “We currently have about 55 ramps installed with a total of about 300 modules,” Clough said.
“We use modules that are pre-built and then assemble them on-site,” he said. “Using pre-built modules allows us to quickly install a ramp.”
The organization is notified if a ramp that’s been installed is no longer needed, according to Clough. “We can reuse those modules to help others in need,” he said.
Students from Youngsville High School have been building modules for the ministry since 2015, Clough said. This year, students from Tidioute Community Charter School joined in the effort.
The YHS students built about a dozen sections the first year, according to John Victor, instructor who directs the ramp building. “We made 40 modules this year,” he said.
The ramp building provides the students with the chance to experience a work environment and participate in community service, Victor said.
Each year Victor starts out guiding the students through the building process and gradually steps back to allow the students to take over as a student foreman leads the workers. “They learn a good work ethic,” he said.
The ministry does not charge a fee to build a ramp but they ask families to evaluate their ability to contribute to the project. Their funding comes from a variety of sources including offerings from participating churches within the district, private donations, grants from foundations and other philanthropic organizations and fundraisers.
You can support the Ramps of Hope Ministry by sending a check to the Kane District Office, PO Box 767, Sheffield, PA 16347. Include “Ramps of Hope” in the memo line.
For more information call 814-837-6115.