Volunteers making it work

Published 5:06 pm Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ruth’s House, a domestic-violence shelter and program, provides much-needed services in Beaufort County. The county is fortunate that a group of ministers and others decided several years ago such a shelter and program were needed to meet the needs once met by a similar program that closed.

Of course, running the Ruth’s House shelter and program takes money, time and effort. That’s where Beaufort County residents and churches, with a long history of volunteerism, come in. Beaufort County residents and churches are not only supporting Ruth’s House with monetary donations, which are greatly appreciated, but by working as volunteers at the shelter and within the program.

Kim Etheridge, director of Ruth’s House, and Deb Ryals, a Ruth’s House board member and advocate, told the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners during its meeting Monday that since July 2013, volunteers have put in 2,000 hours. While grant funding and donations from churches help pay the program’s bills, the majority of funding for Ruth’s House comes from individuals and other entities, Ryals told the commissioners. Those financial contributions help keep the doors at Ruth’s House, which opened a year ago, open, Ryals said. However, Ruth’s House needs a steady stream of money, she noted.

“We will always be in fundraising mode,” Ryals told the commissioners.

A celebration of Ruth’s House first year of operation is scheduled for Feb. 28 at Harvest Church in Washington, Ryals told the commissioners.

“What we want to do is celebrate (that) we did it,” Ryals said.

“The thing that I like best about what we’ve accomplished with Ruth’s House, as a community, is that it is a community event, a community happening, owned and operated by this community,” Ryals said.

The Feb. 28 celebration should be one the entire community supports. Ruth’s House and the volunteers who help make it work are providing services that make the community a better and safer place to live.