Project Description

Around two million people in the United States need a wheelchair for mobility, while only 1 percent of homes in the U.S. have wheelchair accessibility.

EmmanuWheel is a nonprofit organization in the Columbia area that specializes in building wheelchair ramps for people who cannot afford to have one built on their property. It was founded by Jeff Kerby, and has been assisting those with disabilities for seven years. The organization builds an average of 40 to 50 ramps per year. So far this year, the organization has built 27 ramps, and hopes to reach a total of 42.

Currently, EmmanuWheel relies on grants and donations to purchase their building materials, such as the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina. Each ramp costs an average of $850, none of which comes out of the client’s pocket.

The ramps are also built solely by volunteers. Each team of volunteers has the opportunity to become self-sufficient as well, making it possible to reach areas outside of Columbia where more people are in need of help.

“The first year we may have built four or five

[ramps]. Then it started to really build up momentum,” Chris Sharpe, Managing Director of EmmanuWheel, said.

Since EmmanuWheel was founded they have not had to turn away anyone needing their help. Each person wishing to have a ramp must fill out the client referral form, which can be found on EmmanuWheel’s website.

“[Once the forms have been filed] I go make the first visit and learn their situation, pray with them, take the measurements, and then we also put together a plan of when to build,” Sharpe said.

EmmanuWheel is a unique organization that is slowly spreading out to help more areas than just Columbia and Lexington. Their mission states, “By addressing the specific needs of mobility-impaired individuals, it is the intention of EmmanuWheel to share the love of Christ in a practical way. EmmanuWheel hopes to create a lasting improvement in their lives.”