Meet Carmen Santiago, our clothing closet angel. Yes, she’s truly an angel to everyone at the Sheltering Tree. Always with a smile, Carmen works many times each week picking up and sorting all the clothing donations. There are countless amounts of bags to sort, fold, size, tag and organize into the various bins set up in the clothing room. Each item that is donated is handled so that it is properly sorted for size and season and checked to make sure the items are suitable for our homeless friends. Many times, items that are not suitable are sent for donation, but Carmen finds a home for every item. These items may include dressy clothing, children’s wear and extremely large sizes. She personally separates the items that the shelter is not able to use so that the items are personally delivered to other local charities.
With a thankful heart, Carmen picks up the items and brings them to her home to sort and repackage either for immediate use, storage for the appropriate season, or delivery to other local charities. Sometimes her car is so full we can’t see Carmen among the bags of donated items. Her home is always full of items to be sorted. As one can imagine, such an undertaking can sometimes become overwhelming. Carmen's daughter Jenny Otero has been behind the scene as her constant helper, always willing to help.
The clothing closet is located at the First United Methodist Church in Bunnell, 205 North Pine Street, where the Shelter rents their office space. The room is well organized for season appropriate items together with toiletries, shoes, blankets and sometimes, backpacks. Each week when the Shelter office is open, guests are able to pick out an outfit, shoes and toiletries and then shower before lunch is provided in the Fellowship Hall. Each guest leaves feeling refreshed with a new sense of dignity and hope. Carmen’s sense of organization aids in the overall experience for the Shelter guests.
In addition to the clothing closet, Carmen oversees the donations to the emergency food pantry at the Shelter Office. This is a vital ministry to those in need. Carmen’s Church, Spirit Life Worship Church (4721 E Moody Blvd, Bunnell, FL), provides pop-top canned meats, pasta, and fruit together with peanut butter, crackers, snacks and Gatorade to name a few. Pictured above with Carmen is Pastor Mike Desroches, who along with his congregation has generously supported us. Each week the homeless that visit the office are able to have a bag of the emergency food for immediate consumption.
Quoting Carmen, "Let's remember that we are doing God's work and we are all part of this journey. I'm very proud to be part of such an incredible group. God Bless!!!"
Carmen is truly an angel overseeing the clothing and food a ministry to the physical needs to those less fortunate. Thank you, Carmen, we couldn’t do it without you
Vicky Le Tellier,
Board Member - August 2018