Local volunteers ramp up giving while ministering to neighbors in need
A team of New Boston-area volunteers is “ramping up” safety and convenience in homes in western Bowie County. The New Boston Texas Ramp Project team, headed up by Tapp United Methodist Church Pastor Tommy Earl Burton is staying quite busy, building ramps free of charge for those in need. The Texas Ramp project is a state-wide organization, building hundreds of ramps each year. They are a volunteer-staffed 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-denominational, non-governmental organization whose purpose is simple: to free the elderly and handicapped from homes not equipped for their wheelchairs.
Burton has been involved with the Texas Ramp Project for quite some time, first as Associate Pastor at Williams Memorial UMC in Texarkana, then again in this area when he came to Tapp UMC two and a half years ago. Burton says his involvement with the organization has been a blessing. “What a worthy ministry it is,” he said. “To free people from their homes who have otherwise been homebound and can’t navigate steps or porches - everyone is always so appreciative and our whole team is just blessed to be a part of it.”
The New Boston team’s latest project took place on December 15 in DeKalb, and was close to the hearts of some of the building team. This particular ramp was built for the home of a man who was a long-time employee of one of the team members. “To be able to provide this kind of service for people in our community, people we’ve known for years and years - it’s just so special,” said Burton.
Building teams are comprised completely of volunteers, and are given all of the tools and materials necessary to build each ramp. “In this area, we are especially blessed, in that we aren’t required to raise any of the funds needed for our projects - we have been fully funded,” Burton explained. And though volunteer schedules and weather sometimes cause delays, Burton says the team builds a ramp about every 6-8 weeks.
Those interested can help the Texas Ramp Project in a variety of ways. Area teams are always in need of volunteers, and spots are available to form your own team. Most of the work takes place on Saturdays, and while carpentry experience is useful, it isn’t required. Donations and sponsorships are also always welcome and are tax deductible. If you or someone you know is in need of a ramp, you may also fill out an application, which will be given needs-based consideration. For the aforementioned, or for any additional questions or information, visit the Texas Ramps Project’s website, at www.texasramps.org