Carpenter’s Hands ministry assists 89-year-old homeowner by building wheelchair ramp for her mother


When John Luther, Director of Operations for Carpenter’s Hands, a home repair ministry outreach of Canterbury United Methodist Church, went to interview a potential client about a possible wheel chair ramp project, little did he know the surprise he was about to receive.
“When I went to the house to talk to the homeowner, a lady came to the door who I would’ve estimated was about 70 years old. Which puzzled me a little, because on the application it said the homeowner was 89. She seemed to be in excellent health, so I asked her why she needed a wheelchair ramp. That was when she let me know that it wasn’t for her, but for her mother.”
It turns out the homeowner actually was in her eighties. She was in need of a wheel chair ramp to help get her mother, who is 107 years old, in and out of the house. Incredibly, the mother had been using the stairs as recently as four months earlier. Luther asked if he could meet her mother, and the homeowner said “yes, she’s right in here.”
Carpenter’s Hands began the process towards building a ramp for 107-year-old Virginia Wright that day. Now the ramp is complete and allows her to continue to live at home with her family.  Mrs. Wright’s daughter, Clairee Washington, says that it is a blessing to be able to have her mother at home. “It’s a blessing to keep mother here at home,” says Mrs. Washington. “We love that it makes our home both comfortable and livable for her.” And Mrs. Wright is still very much at home there. In fact, she continues to help around the house by washing dishes and folding laundry.
“This is just one of many stories I’ve seen through my job in this ministry” says Luther. “And this is really what it’s all about…just being the hands and feet of Christ by helping people who are in serious need of home repairs. Or in this case, by building a wheelchair ramp for someone who really needed it.”

Carpenter’s Hands operates on donations of funds, materials, and tools. It depends on volunteers for the majority of its workforce and is supported by Canterbury UMC. The ministry has a team working Monday through Thursday and sometimes on Saturdays. 
Carpenter’s Hands is a key part of Avondale Samaritan Place, a joint vision of Avondale and Canterbury United Methodist Churches for outreach in the Avondale community of Birmingham.  Located in the recently renovated Avondale UMC gym, its purpose is to serve as a “Community Hub for Christian Service” by addressing food, housing, and elderly assistance through three key ministries: Avondale Brown Bag, The Carpenter’s Hands, and Beeson Senior Services. For more information on Avondale Samaritan Place, please visit

Clairee Washington says that it is a blessing to be able to have her mother, 107-year-old Virginia Wright, at home.

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