MUSCATINE, Iowa–During her time with the Illinois Iowa Center for Independent Living, Reverend Susan Bantz saw for herself just how much a ramp can change a person’s life. The organization routinely received calls from people who needed a ramp to safely get in and out of their homes but could not afford to have them built. As the Center sought a way to meet this need, they discovered Rebuilding Together, which completes ramp builds and other home repair projects for people in need for free.
Now in her role as the Director of Spiritual Care at Lutheran Living, Bantz still admires the work Rebuilding Together Muscatine County does to keep people happy and healthy in their homes. When selecting a Lenten fundraiser for residents, staff, and the community to collaborate on, Bantz considered Rebuilding Together an ideal choice. “One of the things they do, among many other things, is build ramps, and that was something our residents could get behind,” Bantz observed.
From Ash Wednesday on March 2 through Easter on April 17, Lutheran Living held its Ramp it Up! fundraiser, collecting money for Rebuilding Together in several ways. Many residents pledged to walk or roll for Rebuilding Together, donating a certain amount based on the distances they walked or rolled in their wheelchairs during the fundraiser. Collections taken up during chapel services all went to Ramp it Up!, as did donations brought in by Lutheran Living staff members or mailed in by community members.
Due to the high cost of lumber caused by COVID-19 pandemic supply chain interruptions and increased demand for new housing, it currently costs Rebuilding Together about $350 to build an eight inch by 42 inch section of ramp, or $20 per wood plank. To track the progress of their fundraiser, Bantz created a bulletin board and created a ramp on it using tongue depressors, adding one for each $20 collected.
In total, Ramp it Up! brought in $1,580.50, enough to build four ramp sections and purchase one $150 transition piece for the bottom of the ramp, with a little left over to cover the cost of nails and other small hardware. The most money ever brought in by one of Lutheran Living’s Lenten fundraisers, Bantz took pride in the accomplishment; “It is always a good feeling to be able to do something for the community,” she said.
She also embraced the opportunity for residents of Lutheran Living to connect themselves to the wider Muscatine community, especially since many of them benefit from ramps as well. “As people in a nursing home, my residents can’t go out and volunteer in the community, though many of them did,” she explained. “This is a way for them to give back.”
More broadly, she felt the support for the fundraiser illustrated just how much people at Lutheran Living and in Muscatine care about championing causes helping those in need. She asserted, “this is what we do-we pull together and support the community, and that’s what Rebuilding Together does.”