Waynesboro Church Leaders Trying to Set Up Women’s Shelter
After a public hearing Monday night, a resolution to make it easier for women and children without homes get back on the right track will go forward to Waynesboro City Council.
Church leaders with the Waynesboro Area Refuge Ministry (WARM) have been working to set up a shelter but hit roadblocks with city code.
During the winter months, area churches take turns each week opening their doors to the homeless, but the thermal shelter program is not allowed to take in women with children, and when organizers realized that was where the greatest need was, they decided to do something.
Robert Carroll, a Waynesboro pastor and member of the WARM board, and his wife opened up their home to people not helped by the thermal program. Every morning, Rita Ocampo and several other women living with Carroll's family gather in prayer and work toward healing.
"It's been helping me a lot. I was doing things, and making bad decisions and making the wrong choices," Ocampo said.
After two months there, Ocampo's life is already completely different. She lived in Staunton with family until she took some wrong turns and ended up losing custody of her children.
"So that's what I'm working on right now - just trying to get them back with me," she said.
Carroll and his wife have taken in people in tough spots since 1998.
"It's just where God's called me to be. I just...it's how I serve the Lord," Carroll said.
Carroll has a vision to make it a women's shelter that could give a second chance to many. He says the Waynesboro Planning Commission already approved the conditional use permit. The plan is to accept 28 people in need at any one time, and get them back on their feet within six to eight weeks.
"We're offering parenting classes, financial planning classes, we're working with community services and mental health, all the different social services," Carroll said.
Carroll says the entire board will go to the City Council and see if members move forward with the project. If council votes in favor of this, the ministry will still have to wait on approval from the government on some paperwork.
To make a donation or learn about the services available, call Pastor Carroll at 804-869-0669.
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