Angie Engleman, a long-time "house mother" to the women we serve at Ruth Van Cleve Anderson's WARM House recently retired. While we couldn't throw her the party she deserved due to COVID regulations, WARM's Board of Directors Chair, Brian Edwards, together with Executive Director, Debra Freeman-Belle, and Program Director, Beverly Robinson gave her a bouquet and shared words and memories with her on her last day. Angie moved into Ruth's WARM House as part of the re-opening plan in 2015. While Angie was at Ruth's WARM House, her duties were varied and included things such as processing donations, making house meal plans, transporting residents to appointments, preparing rooms for residency, coaching residents to improve cooking, home-keeping, and childcare skills. She always had an ear to listen, and a shoulder to cry on for our house residents.
Debra Freeman-Belle, Executive Director of Waynesboro Area Refuge Ministry (WARM) received The Jean Harris Award for 2020 from the Waynesboro Noon Rotary Club. Ms. Freeman-Belle received the award to recognize the work that quickly and efficiently created partnerships and collaboration between organizations, businesses, and government during the COVID-19 Pandemic. “Waynesboro Rotary Club is a community jewel itself and comprised of many doers and change makers so this honor is humbling. Anyone who knows me, knows I prefer to work quietly and that bringing people together to help people experiencing homelessness is my passion. WARM’s work, especially during the pandemic, has quietly created partnerships to serve vulnerable community members so this recognition is special for every person who is quietly working behind the scenes to make community care possible.” The Jean Harris Award was created in 1997-98 when the Rotary International Board approved the creation. The award bears the
This past week, Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church hosted the Waynesboro Area Refuge Ministry Cold Weather Shelter for the week. During our week of hosting, at least five other churches in the area also participated in providing food, overflow support (the number of homeless in need of shelter has exceeded the capacity of a host church like ours a majority of nights this year!), and transportation. That caused me to ask WARM’s Executive Director Debra Burns how many congregations take part in this ministry to the homeless in our area — not only the cold weather shelter, which operates November through March of each year, but the Ruth Anderson WARM House, which operates year round offering help to homeless families; women and children in our area who are homeless. Debra sent me a list: more than 30 congregations in our area provide volunteers and funding to make the ministry and program
The Waynesboro Area Refuge Ministry is moving forward, both with new officials in place and a timeline to open their new facility. In September, the Waynesboro city council approved plans for WARM to take over a facility off of Fairfax Avenue, which was owned by Presbyterian Homes and Family Services. Three months later, the group has directors in place and will soon close on the property. Monday was the first day on the job for Debra Burns. The 30-year-old grew up in Waynesboro and came home this week to take over as WARM’s director of development and client services. Burns comes from Huntington, West Virginia, where she worked as a grant writer and also a domestic violence shelter coordinator for the Huntington Housing Authority. “I’m jumping in with both feet,” Burns said. “When I moved back here, I was planning to just stay as a grant writer. But then I