Our Founding Memories

Carla Traister - Founder

Carla Traister founded The Sheltering Tree, a subsidiary of Flagler County Family Assistance Center, INC., a Florida Not For Profit Corporation.

Carla has a warm heart, which in spite of her many tireless hours of hard work, sometimes seven days a week for the Shleter, always seemed to manage a cheerful smile.

Carla worked closely from its inception with Sue Bickings, our current Chairperson.  

Quoting an article from palmcoastobserver.com, "The shelter has changed my life so much," said Traister, 70. "I could never be the same person. [The homeless] have changed me more than I could have ever changed anyone.""

Carla left the shelter in excellent hands in the beginning of 2018, knowing that Sue Bickings had the same heart, determination, and drive. 

 She is missed, but her legacy goes on! 

One of the many less fortunate in Flagler County

Carla Traister was interview by Colleen Michele Jones, community editor for PalmCoastObserver.com. For Colleen's full article, please click on the picture above or button below..   

"Some nine years ago, Carla Traister was on her way to the First United Methodist Church for Sunday services in Bunnell when the sight stopped her in her tracks: A man huddled in an alcove in the church courtyard lay sleeping on a cardboard box.

"I thought, one foot inside the door and he would've been warm. What if we opened that door?""

Carla Kept in Contact with Local Agencies and News

Carla continually maintained contact with many of our Local County and City leaders, local agencies, and News Media to dispel any myths and realities of Bunnell’s Cold-Weather Shelter, and Flagler’s Homeless.  

FlaglerLive.com posted one such article, where Carla wrote about these concerns. Looking at her picture in that article, one can easily recognize how tirelessly she worked for the homeless here in Flagler County.

Please click on the button below to see this well written article or go to https://flaglerlive.com/17253/gc-traister-cold-weather-shelter/ 

Bunnell United Methodist Church

205 North Pine Street

Bunnell, Florida 32110

To learn more about this church, please click on the picture above.

In 2008, Carla Traister teamed up with then Pastor Rev. Beth Gardner. It was a relatively small beginnig, offering a place to stay on the floor of the church's Fellowship Hall.  Poviding throw rugs and blankets, the homeless were highly appreciative of having a warm place to spend the night.  

As the word spread, both the parishioners and the community began to donate various items to assist the homeless with their basic needs. They were now able to start providing clothing, toiletries, and emergency food. Some monetary donations started to come in as well. Financial Support is most needed to keep the shelter in operation.  

The shelter has grown over the years, but desparetly needs your support.

Volunteers comfort homeless with a Sheltering Tree

Check out this News Journal Article