PRAIRIEVILLE, LA (WAFB) - A church group out of Ascension Parish is on a mission to build ramps for elderly residents. The group is persevering despite
a major obstacle.
The hum of a saw broke through an otherwise silent Prairieville neighborhood early Saturday morning as volunteers scrambled to
beat the rain and put the finishing touches on a ramp outside the home. The project is a partnership between the Ascension Parish Council on Aging and the First United Methodist Church of Gonzales.
"We can provide the funding, however I do not have the resources or staff to be able to do the builds," said Darlene Schexnayder,
executive director for the council.
The Helping Hands ministry is headed up by Ed Holton. The group first answered the call about a year ago and since then has been quite busy, building about ten ramps in the past eight months. The latest project is an effort to get an elderly woman back into her home. "There's a woman who went into the hospital about six weeks ago, came out wheelchair bound and couldn't even get back into her house until we could get a ramp built for her, so that they could get her home hopefully tonight and back in her own bed," Holton said.
The ministry has nailed down a number of ramps with tools provided by the church, but about a month ago, someone broke into their supply trailer, helping themselves to whatever they could find. Holton said the thieves made off with basically every power tool the church had purchased, which was roughly $1,500 worth of merchandise.
"It's aggravating and it's frustrating because you're trying to do some good and then somebody steals all your equipment," Holton added. But the setback was not enough to stop the work. The team has stepped up, many volunteers using their own personal tools to get the job done.
"That's something God calls us to do and it's so rewarding to be able to get out in the community and help people who really, really need it," Holton said.
The dedicated group is continuing to offer helping hands when they themselves are in need. The Helping Hands ministry is accepting spare power tools and any monetary donations to replace the stolen supplies.