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Beyond Controversy: A Video Profile of The Sheltering Tree, Flagler’s Cold-Weather Shelter

| January 27, 2011

The cold-weather shelter also provides clothing and shoes to the homeless.

In the last few days, organizers and volunteers for The Sheltering Tree, Flagler County’s only cold-weather shelter for the homeless, have found themselves defending the shelter from vague and so far anonymous criticism that nevertheless caught the attention of the Bunnell City Commission. The Sheltering Tree runs the shelter, when night temperatures fall to 40 or below, out of the big meeting room at Bunnell’s First United Methodist Church on Pine Tree Lane in Bunnell. Bunnell Mayor Catherine Robinson said the matter may be discussed more formally at a subsequent meeting of the commission.

To Help The Sheltering Tree:

Advocates reminded commissioners of the work The Sheltering Tree does, and the service the shelter provides. Many people, maybe most, don’t know precisely what the cold-weather shelter is or what it does, and most certainly have never been inside it or heard the people it helps in their own voices. Misconceptions are rife.

Charlotte Marten, who covered Monday’s commission meeting (see the video here) was at the shelter Wednesday evening, when it opened for the 24th or 25th time this season, and spoke to volunteers, homeless guests and the center’s director.

Here’s Marten’s special report.

See Also:

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

12 Responses for “Beyond Controversy: A Video Profile of The Sheltering Tree, Flagler’s Cold-Weather Shelter”

  1. Tammy Yorke says:

    I think the effort is commendable, but as a resident of Bunnell my perspective may be slightly skewed. The issue is that bus loads of homeless people are being bussed in from Ormond FUMCH makes me a bit curious. Why don’t they provide this commendable service in their own community? Bunnell is slowly becoming the slum of Flagler County. Property values will be impacted, and if you are selling a house or trying to grow a business in Bunnell, good luck. Panhandling and homeless people walking the streets will certainly contribute to what many realtors already recommend, which is to not move to Bunnell.Why don’t the other churches in the area share in the good deed and rotate the shelter. I am sure we could just as easily bus people to a shelter in Palm Coast or Flagler Beach.

    • Pamela Andrews says:

      those brought by bus, in cold weather and emergencies are accounted for, those brought there are bused out the next morning…

      • Pamela Andrews says:

        For this I am so proud of my community
        Last night I attended our City Commissioners meeting.
        Our Mayor, started it with a prayer and we all stood,
        for The Pledge of Allegiance to our Flag.

        She held her hand on The Bible, and swore to uphold
        the Constitution of the United States of America,
        and Constitution of the state of Florida.

        We also witnessed the swearing in of Commissioner Elbert Tucker,
        for another term as well…
        I am so glad to know him as an outstanding leader in our community,
        loyal to and has served God and Country, a man of integrity, and compassion.
        Proud to have him represent my community and myself.
        You should know, I admire Mr. Tucker, for more reasons expressed here.

        I am also proud of my fellow citizens for stepping up to represent our
        Sheltering Tree, which I feel honored to be a part of.
        One by one we stood up to defend The First United Methodist Church of Bunnell,
        for them dedicating the church space, and time,
        to help our needy, and homeless neighbors…
        for giving solutions…

        I am grateful, for Carla, and Beth for creating and for
        their dedication and hard work, of the Shelter.

        These places are created for the poor,
        as Jesus said, there will always be poor…
        It is sad, and yet some just turn their backs to our fellow human beings.

        Most of our homeless, are my honorable soldiers, who for many reasons,
        have ended up in our woods, under our bridges, and in our shelters.
        There are those who have been cast aside, rejected for having disabilities,
        mental and physical.
        Some have lost their jobs, and have no other resource,
        but to live in their car… whole families cuddled together, scared,
        hiding from everything out there…


        We, as a society must realize we are doing something…everything wrong…
        Instead of investing in a system of generational entitlements.
        we need to give them purpose…

        I want to end this post on a positive side,
        I am thankful for those with hearts to lift others,
        when they are unable to lift themselves…

        Our Sheltering Tree, for now is safe…
        Please keep it, and other places like it in your prayers…
        Volunteer, donate, sometimes all you need to give is your time, and a smile…

        ps. The First United Methodist Church of Bunnell, celebrated 100 years in 2010,
        the city, is celebrating 100, this year 2013…

        • Pamela Andrews says:

          fundraiser for The Sheltering Tree

          Announcing: An evening of fun at the Jackie Robinson Ballpark for the Daytona Cubs playing against the Tampa Yankees.
          You will receive a coupon for a free hot dog if you bring a non-perishable food item to the game!
          Attached is a the flyer that you can post or give out.
          Thank you!!
          TICKETS ARE $7.OO through us, but $10.00 at the door.

          call Richard for tickets 446-0507

          please share and invite others

          There, but for the grace of God go I…you ♥

          • Pamela Andrews says:

            If your able to attend, you can still buy a ticket, donate, non perishables, money or time…
            Maybe buy tickets and share with someone who would like to go.

  2. Rudy Smith says:

    What a clean space and what a great job everyone with The Sheltering Tree is doing. @Tammy, you are very wrong. Not a single business has publicly stated a complaint about the shelter and in the last commissioner’s meeting not a single resident of Bunnell spoke about any existing discontent with the location of the shelter. No resident, or business has publicly come forward at these meetings.

    I say, let us help the The Sheltering Tree by finding ways and funds to provide even better service for more people. This community of Bunnell must step up and lead the way in helping those that are in a period of transition.

    I call out to the community of Bunnell, the churches of Bunnell, and the citizen of Bunnell to voice their support for this humanitarian cause at the next commissioners meeting. They can do so during the open public forum part of the agenda. Unlike the “ghost businesses that used the Mayor to inject negative comments at the last meeting, step forward and let the City know that Bunnell has more than a Heart; they know right from wrong.

  3. Tammy Yorke says:

    Rudy, I appreciate your opinion. If you are a resident of Bunnell, I encourage you to speak at the meeting, too. I don’t think this a the responsibility for Bunnell. It a county responsibility as well…that would include residents of Palm Coast and Flagler Beach, too. I also think the people of Volusia County should step up and do this is Ormond rather than conveniently buzzing people here. The community and shelter board need to be working toward the county having a centrally located shelter year round. They should be helping people get back on their feet through working with social services. What happens now is that they are shipped in and when the weather warms up they wander around the community living in wooded areas. This is not good for the homeless or the community. I have seen numerous men who appear to live in the woods near the elementary school. We have no background information, and as a resident I have great concerns. I don’t want to see anyone go hungry or sleep in the cold, but for the few nights of below 40 degree weather this community deals with a much larger homeless issue year round. The church is located in a residential area. It may be close to businesses but it is in a residential area.

  4. Ellen Pipino says:

    Tammy, I feel you are really misinformed….The homeless are not buzzed up to Bunnell, they are bused & in the morning they are bused back to Daytona – very early – these people are not the ones you are finding in the woods. For more acurate information you should contact Carla as she oversees so much of this program – you might not be so cold hearted. I live in Palm Coast & I do volunteer at the Sheltering Tree. For you information PC has some homeless too.
    These people are not there by choice many of them due to unexpected circumstances!

  5. Tammy says:

    Ellen, on the contrary. They are bussed and many of them choose to stay. I was at the church today and there were homeless men hanging around out front and sleeping in the courtyard. I see this first hand. I am sure that Carla is not there 24/7 to see what goes on. I live here and see it with my own eyes. Perhaps you should visit when it is 70 degrees and sunny outside. They are leaving the bathrooms and the courtyard unlocked so they can sleep there any night. That doesn’t sound like just a cold weather shelter. Please Ellen, come and hang around the neighborhood when Bob and Carla are not there and you will see a different picture.

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      So what if the homeless are sleeping on church property at night? So what if they’re using the bathrooms (which the church expressly invites them to do)? So what if they’re hanging around there? a church, for god’s sake, whether it’s 70 or 90 or 50? And so blessedly what if it’s not merely a cold-weather shelter? How, how are these people hurting anyone, bothering anyone, aside from assaulting some people’s weird sensibilities that, somehow, poverty should be heard of but never seen? I’d invite a couple to set up tents in my backyard but as you well know Palm Coast is a bit of a code enforcement police state, where the homeless are, like gays in Iran, presumed not to exist. At least First United, rare among churches, is living up to its stated mission in every way, primarily by ministering to the poor. The poor are already invisible by definition, a homeless person in our society having less dignity and respect, in most people’s eyes, than an errant dog. Now their invisibility should clear out, too. The Gospel according to Luke must be a banned book in Bunnell. Or at least a segregated one: good for Sunday services, but please, no preaching about the poor beyond that, let alone ministering to them in full view.

    • Pamela Andrews says:

      if they have no facility to use the restroom, where would you have them go???
      in the blink of an eye, we could all be there…

  6. To end the misinformation about the cold-weather shelter, please read the full response here.

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