The Sheltering Tree in Bunnell's office hours are from 10:00 A.M- 2:00 PM at 205 N. Pine Street.
The office opened in January 2015 by Carla Traister and Sue Bickings in an effort to provide emergency help to our homeless population as well as to reach out to struggling families and individuals.
Sometimes we offer a caring conversation, a warm smile, a hug, and a private prayer. Other days we are challenged to help with security deposits, utilities bills, rent shortages and all sorts of issues both financial and emotional. We keep a small supply of emergency food, toiletries, and clothing to help our homeless guests.
Our monthly budget is small, and the needs are great. We partner with Flagler County Human Services, where those in need are screened to see where other agencies may be of assistance. The staff at Human Services works with our agency and many other local charities so that we can all come together to assist our local residents. Our efforts may prevent a person or family from becoming homeless or having to do without food, clothing and so much more, the needs list just goes on and on.
Just this week we were able to assist a young couple by paying a portion of their rent. They are both employed and live in a small apartment where the utilities are included in the rent. They had a medical bill which caused them to be short on their rent. We were able to coordinate with them and another agency to help them on their feet and keep them in their apartment. We also worked with Human Services to help a family of 8 by paying a portion of the security deposit so they could get out of a hotel and into an affordable home. Sometimes the cost of up-front security, first and last month’s rent and utilities deposits prevent families from getting into a home. Living in a hotel or in a car is very common in our area and we hope to assist these families to better their lives.
We’ve also been blessed by the United Methodist Church by a loaned shower and laundry trailer. The trailer is temporarily housed at the Bunnell United Methodist Church for the purpose of assisting disaster crews who travel here to help with local repairs. The church has loaned The Sheltering Tree the trailer on Wednesday so that we may provide hot showers and laundry to our homeless folks. We are all blessed by the use of this trailer. Our shelter volunteers assist the folks in an orderly manner to help as many as need a shower and their laundry completed in the time that the office is open. While they wait they are provided a sandwich, drink, and dessert so that they leave feeling some sort of normalcy in their lives.
This is just a little snapshot of what goes on each Wednesday that the office is opened. We are always looking for donations of food, clothing, and money so that we can help more and more.
Vicky Le Tellier
June 21, 2018