Charity Provides Help For Local Homeless

When temperatures in Flagler County drop to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, those without shelter can find a cot, a meal and plenty of warmth at The Cold Weather Shelter sponsored by The Sheltering Tree, a non-profit organization with its offices in the First United Methodist Church in Bunnell.
The cold weather shelter itself is held at the Church on the Rock in Bunnell.
“We are an all-volunteer non-profit with numerous teams handling our operations,” explained Sue Bickings, a co-chair of the organization’s board of directors. “We are 100 percent funded by donations from generous people in this community.”
She’s proud of — and grateful for — the extensive numbers of active volunteers The Sheltering Tree has. There are teams that provide meals to the shelter’s guests, teams that stay overnight monitoring the guests and meeting any needs that arise and a hospitality team that sets up the shelter’s cots, greets guests, verifies their identification and reads the rules to abide by while in the shelter.
It takes a lot of teamwork to effectively run the shelter, she said.
Because, “when – not Accu Weather or Weather Bug – but when indicates 40 degrees for Bunnell, we are open to shelter those who do not have a place to stay warm,” Buckings said.
The shelter can accommodate men and women in separated sleeping areas as well as families in a room to themselves.
The common area offers television and videos as well as board games for entertainment.
The shelter was open four times during the recent holiday season and had as many as 17 people as guests.
The Sheltering Tree also offers Tuesday hours from 10 AM to noon for those in need to stop by its office. Services offered include help obtaining an identification card from the state, birth certificates, applications for public assistance, lunch, emergency food and supplies such as tents and blankets, clothing and hygiene products as well as bicycle distribution and repair.
Many of the area churches partner with The Sheltering Tree to supply its needs, but as Buckings explained, there is always need to be filled.
“People ask how they can get involved,” she said. “I often tell them it is as simple as making some sandwiches or buying some Gatorade.”
Learn more about The Sheltering Tree, its needs and operations at its website: or call 386-437-3258, ext. 105.