February 21, 2024

ENTERPRISE-Providing safe shelter and support services to victims of domestic violence in Barbour, Bullock, Coffee, Covington, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston, and Pike Counties is the purpose of the Dothan-based House of Ruth of Southeast Alabama, Executive Director Angela Underwood told Enterprise Rotarians Tuesday.

“When women come to us they are generally totally dependent, because they come to us in most cases with the clothes on their backs, their babies in their arms, and they are running for their life,” said Underwood. “We do what we can to help them until they can help themselves. We give them hope that they can do this.”

In addition to emergency shelter, assistance provided by the 42-year old safe place includes self-help and life skills educational programs, individual and group supportive counseling , information on and referral to existing community agencies, assistance in filing Alabama Crime Victims Compensation, and legal advocacy. The shelter provides basic necessities to include food, clothing, and personal hygiene supplies.

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The safe shelter staff includes three work shifts with a staff of 17. The shelter provides basic necessities to include food, clothing, and personal hygiene supplies. “Helping the women gain self-sufficiency is part of the goal,” Underwood said.

Another of the shelter’s goals is to increase public awareness about the dynamics of domestic violence and sexual assault.

“It is truly amazing how many women go through violence, whether with their husband, boyfriend or casual acquaintance, and don’t know that there are people that can help,” she said. “Our organization seeks to spread the word, not only that violence does happen but that also that there is a safe place to go.

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“If you see something, say something,” Underwood said. “Let people know that there is help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We’re there to help them if they want to be helped.”

The House of Ruth is “grant-dependent” Underwood said, adding appreciation to the Wiregrass United Way for its continued support of the program. The House of Ruth, Inc. is a community effort dependent upon donations, Underwood said. “Volunteers and donations of food, clothing, household items, toiletries, and money are greatly appreciated. Many of our clients are completely restarting their lives with nothing, not even a toothbrush.”

“We’ve stood for 42 years and we’re still standing,” Underwood said, crediting community support. “All of the donations we receive go toward helping our clients regain their independence and safety from abuse. Those interested in volunteering or making a donation are asked to call the administrative office of The House of Ruth between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at (334) 793-5214 or email [email protected].”

Shelter needs include large bath towels and wash cloths, preferable white; twin size sheets; blankets; paper towels, tissue paper, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, bras, underwear and socks in all sizes; solid color t-shirts in all sizes; diapers and pullups in all sizes; and baby wipes.

Any organization, civic club or church interested in having a shelter representative come provide more information about the shelter is asked to call (334) 793-5214 or email [email protected].

To obtain more information about how you can help The House of Ruth, Inc. please email [email protected].

The 24-hour crisis hotline can be reached at (800) 650-6522 or (334) 793-2232.

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