2018 Report by Sue Bickings

Sue Bickings, our Chairperson on the Board gives a Report for the 2018 opening.

Cold Weather Shelter Update 2018…

The Beginning

It is the end of March and perhaps the end of the cold weather season. The Sheltering Tree’s "Cold Weather Shelter" was open twenty-one nights since our opening night on December 8, 2017. Our first meal together with our guests was pot roast, mashed potatoes, and mixed vegetables, prepared and served by our Covenant Closing Team. It was a friendly and warm place to be, with a delicious meal!

The Wells Family team set up cots and checked in guests at the Hospitality table. Their cheerful expressions and energy gave the room a sense of purpose. Our guests could relax and feel safe. Two of our loyal overnighters joined us: Jim Potochick and Denise Calderwood. Everyone knows that we cannot open without two overnighters, one of which must be awake at all times. These two are real troopers! Both served more than 4 times for overnights. We can’t do it without you

The BCD Breakfast Team from Bunnell First United Methodist Church came in at 6 AM to prepare a hearty, nourishing meal. The Rise N Shine team also cleans up the space we use each time we are open, before closing the shelter for the day around 8 AM.  It was a smooth opening for the shelter. We have many teams who help make it possible. Thank you to all volunteers who participate in Flagler county’s only cold weather shelter.

Cold Weather Shelter Update 2018… The Facts

We had an average of seventeen volunteers that made each night as comfortable as possible for our Flagler residents who have no fixed address. Throughout the season, about 19 guests stayed each night we were open. The shelter located at First United Methodist Church of Bunnell has been in operation since November 2008. 

This year we saw some guests from Palm Coast, who had transportation arranged through The Sheltering Tree board members. Next year we are hoping to have a few special volunteers who will pick up guests at the Flagler County library at 5PM on a cold night and transport them to the shelter in Bunnell. 

Our guests ranged from age 22-68 years of age. We had two guests with physical disabilities who brought motorized chairs. Our oldest guest got permanent housing at the end of a very cold week. She would have had to stay in her van, if we hadn’t been open. 

Cold Weather Shelter: Who are we?


Our teams come from local churches, businesses, organizations and individuals and families. Many of our teams have been with us since opening in 2008. Some are new this year! We will need more new teams for next cold season. Please consider talking to us about how you can help. It is a humbling experience to work with people who live differently than most others. Your kindness goes a long way to helping someone feel ‘not forgotten’.


Hospitality Teams: Serve from 4 PM until 10 PM, sometimes in two shifts.

Compassionate Ministries of Palm Coast

Palm Coast United Methodist Church

Santa Maria Del Mar Catholic Church

The Sturgeon Family

The Wells Family

Supper Teams: Serve from 4:30 PM until supper is served at 6 PM and kitchen is clean.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority 

The Collins Family

Covenant Closing & Title Services

Flagler County Christian Homeschoolers

Gwen’s Team

Santa Maria Del Mar Catholic Church

Soul Café at Bunnell United Methodist Church

Overnighters: Serve from 10 PM until 6 AM the next morning. One person awake all times.

George and Lynne Macko  Jim Potochick

Bob and Ginger Branin  Jeff Huggans

Sims and Phillippa Jones  Walter Mahler

Denise Calderwood  Larry Doege

Cassy Moran  Bob Nichols

Rise N Shine Teams: Serve from 6 AM, making breakfast and closing the shelter for the day.

Bunnell United Methodist Church

The Edwards Family

Flagler Beach United Methodist Church

Florida Hospital Flagler 

Palm Coast United Methodist Church

Seventh Day Adventist Church 

The SludgeHammers

Many of these teams have served more than 5 times due to scheduling conflicts and illnesses. It was a challenging winter season, considering flu and pneumonia issues that kept some from serving as often as they were called. Thank you to all our volunteers! Won’t you join us next season? 

Cold Weather Shelter Update 2018… The End ?

 It is March, and it looks like the shelter season is concluded. But this is not the end of our work! All shelter bedding is washed and stored for next year. Cots are cleaned and packed away. Clothing is rotated from cold weather wear to summer wear for our office clients who come year-round to see us. Our storage facility, gracious donated by Chuck and Michele Seyfert, needs a thorough reorganization after the chaos of winter. We have much work to do! Can you help us organize the storage unit on April 12th? Call our office at 386.437.3258, ext. 105 to volunteer!