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Foundation looking to build on ramp program

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Applications are being accepted for a program providing free ramps to those who struggle to easily get in and out of their homes.

The Bartholomew County REMC Community Trust has provided $1,500 to Aging and Community Services of South Central Indiana for its Ramps to Freedom program, which launched July 4. Organizers hope to pay for three ramps for that amount.

That nonprofit agency last year worked with Columbus’ Housing Partnerships Inc., a nonprofit builder, and the nonprofit volunteer group, Servants At Work, to install wooden ramps at five families’ homes.

The Women’s Giving Circle of The Heritage Fund: The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County donated $5,000 to pay for building materials for the pilot project. Last year, it was aimed specifically at women 60 and older, either as the direct client or a care giver.

“We don’t want care givers to hurt their back (carrying a family member) or themselves in any way,” said Vickie Bateman, Aging and Community Services’ volunteer resource manager.

Now, with the latest donation, applicants can be either gender of any age, but must be a client of REMC. Yet, Aging and Community Services also wants people other than REMC clients to apply since it is seeking other sources of funding.

“We need to know what kinds of needs are out there so we can begin to match those up with other donors,” Bateman said.

The ramps are built with interchangeable components and can be taken apart and moved elsewhere and reassembled in a different configuration if a homeowner no longer need them.

Columbus’ Raymond and Mayjane Morrison got one of the ramps in October. Raymond is blind and must walk carefully. Plus, he just underwent back surgery last fall. Mayjane battles severe arthritis.

“It has been a big help for both of us,” Raymond said. “It really makes a big difference when we’re bringing groceries in. And I think there’s a lot more people out there who could use them.”

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