The only cold weather homeless shelter in Flagler county is turning to the public for help in providing services.
The Sheltering Tree cares for about 20 people on an average night when temperatures drop below 40 degrees. The volunteer shelter is available each year from November to March.
Board chair Sue Bickings said expenses add up to provide people with basic needs. The shelter reimburses volunteers when they submit grocery receipts, she said. With finances tight, the Sheltering Tree is having its first-ever fundraiser on Sunday.
“To open up the shelter for the night is $150 for the space. And volunteers bring in the meals— they cook the meals,” Bickings said.
Sarah Ulis said she and her fellow volunteers do more than just provide a safe place for the homeless to rest. The shelter has been involved in social work endeavors in Flagler county since it opened in 2008.
“They also put them in touch with their families. They try to get them straightened out medically and psychologically. And they’re also going out on a daily basis and checking on people and seeing how they’re doing,” Ulis said.
The shelter has been open eight nights this season. Bickings said it’s normally open an average of 20 nights but it’s been a warm winter.
Intern Serena Summerfield can be reached at email@example.com, 904.358.6317, or Twitter at @sumserfield