First year a success for Destin cold night shelter

Savannah Vasquez
Pictured with CC Fearson, are volunteers Robert Taft, Roy Rowell Jr., and Ed Fletcher who helped fold and put away all the linens from the cold night shelter.

With no foreseeable freezing nights on the horizon, Destin’s cold night shelter at Destin United Methodist Church is set to close until next winter.

As the first year the city of Destin has hosted a cold night shelter, the response from both the volunteers and patrons have rendered the flagship program a success.

“We served 513 people over 27 total days for an average of 19 people per day,” said Cedric Fearson, Executive Director of Others of Destin Inc., the non-profit which helped organize the shelter. “I didn’t know that we had such a large and organized group of homeless here in Destin.”

Fearson told The Log that each night the shelter was open, patrons chipped in to help with set-up, clean-up and even preparing meals.

“They wanted to do all the work themselves, they didn’t just want to be served,” he said. “They did all the set up and break down and one of the men was a chef and even woke up early to help cook breakfast. That’s how committed they were; they did as much to help out as the volunteers did.”

Seven Destin area churches provided volunteers for the shelter, each designated a different night of the week depending on when the weather fell below 40 degrees.

“It was a great team effort between all the different churches,” said Fearson. “I think it went pretty good this year for it being the first one in Destin.”

By the Numbers:

513 patrons served

27 cold winter nights

19 average patrons per night

7 Destin churches provided volunteers

A total of nine churches were involved in the cold night shelter through volunteering and coordinating. Those churches were: Destin United Methodist Church, Destin Church of Christ, St. Andrews by the Sea Episcopal Church, Coastline Calvary Chapel, Immanuel Anglican Church, Hope Lutheran Church, Christ the King Episcopal Church,  Grace Lutheran Church and Village Baptist Church.