Ramp-O-Rama provides mobility access for local families


Chances are, many people began their day bounding out their doors and walking to their cars, bikes or commuter rails with little thought given to the task. For a growing number of residents in Northeast Florida, just getting out of the house is no easy task.

Many need to use mobility devices, like wheelchairs or walkers, and those require a safe and reliable ramp to allow them to leave the home. With more than one-third of local residents struggling to make ends meet, those ramps aren’t always affordable.

That’s where Builders Care and their third annual Ramp-O-Rama comes in — building ramps for those in need.

“This year, we are continuing with last year's success of at least 20 ramps in eight weeks, which will put Builders Care at building 52 ramps this year,” said Krissy Barkas, executive director of Northeast Florida Builders Association (NEFBA). “Writing that out and saying it aloud gives me chills. So many people are unaware of just how life-changing a ramp is for someone unable to leave their home. We have encountered several recipients who have not left his or her home in months or even more than a year — something most of us take for granted.”

Ramp-O-Rama began in 2021 with a modest goal that would deliver a major impact.

Builders Care, the philanthropic arm of NEFBA, would construct 10 wheelchair ramps in one day, using multiple teams of volunteers, throughout St. Johns and Duval counties. They did it. The following year saw a sharp increase, with the group building 20 planned and two emergency ramps over eight weeks throughout Northeast Florida.

These ramps are all a part of Builders Care’s mission of providing services to the elderly, disabled and veterans needing home repairs and improvements.

"I’m so proud of the work Builders Care continues to accomplish, especially as it relates to building accessibility ramps for those in need,” said Chris Shee, CEO and owner of MasterCraft Builder Group, member of NEFBA, and Builders Group board chairperson. “It’s heartwarming to see folks' faces, the true joy when they finally gain the freedom to do something so simple as going outside. Ramp-O-Rama will help Builders Care reach a goal of 52 ramps for 2023, which is a huge accomplishment and an amazing blessing to all those that have been graced by the efforts of Builders Care and its volunteers and supporters.”

Builders Care has many opportunities for individuals and organizations to support their work. They are seeking donations of auction items for the 2023 NEFBA Gala Auction on Sept. 29. Builders Care is also accepting candidates to serve as board members. For more information on sponsorships, donations and board service, email Krissy Barkas at kbarkas@nefba.com.

Builders Care is a faith-based nonprofit construction contractor whose mission is to provide affordable to no-cost construction services to the elderly, the disabled and other nonprofits in Northeast Florida to build a better habitat for all.

For more information on Builders Care, go to builderscare.org.