“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” -Proverbs 31:25-31
In October 2015, the WARM House for Women & Children received a new name. It received the name of a mother and local community supporter who is matriarch of a family of six children, ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Ruth V. Anderson spent her life providing safety, love, success, and commitment to her family, husband, friends, and many others in our community. In addition to administrating a busy household while raising six children and continually caring for other family members, she was the backbone of her husband’s successful family medicine practice in Waynesboro, VA for many years. She was a devout member of Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Waynesboro and a local book club. She and her husband, the late Dr. J. Powell Anderson, were supporters of various worthwhile causes in Waynesboro and worked behind the scenes to ensure that many of our less fortunate community members have the opportunity to overcome life’s challenges and grow their potential.
Mrs. Anderson readily admitted that she never had the instability and financial struggles that many women experience, and was more than grateful that she and her family have had stability over the years. There is a book she once read that spoke to the essence of what we all truly want in life. The book is titled, “Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good”, by Jan Karon. That is what Ruth Van Cleve Anderson always wanted for the families that come through the doors of the WARM House. So, on October 17, 2015, the house on Fairfax Avenue was officially renamed The Ruth VanCleve Anderson WARM House for Women & Children to honor the example of strength and virtue given to our community by Mrs. Anderson.
The heart of WARM’s program for homeless women with children is to help moms work towards financial, emotional, and spiritual stability that ensures their long-term success. It is the program’s hope that all moms will transition into their new homes but also transition into a new life that overcomes crises, struggles, and day to day stressors that may have previously contributed to their loss of stability. All mothers, especially single mothers, know that the responsibility of child-rearing, working, and managing a household can sometimes result in a lost sense of purpose and a forgotten sense of simple womanhood. The residents of the program have the opportunity to better learn the keys to balancing life’s multiple responsibilities along with appropriate responses to unfortunate life events that we cannot control and, in turn, hopefully, prevent repeated homelessness. Ruth V. Anderson lived a life balancing many responsibilities and unexpected tragedies to continue being a mother, wife, and woman of virtue to her loved ones. It is our hope that the women who temporarily reside at Ruth’s WARM House will learn their own personal strengths, become stronger in the midst of their struggles, and receive beauty for their ashes just as Mrs. Anderson did throughout her life.