Vortex of Volunteers pulls together to man shelter as temps drop

Cold weather
Daily News file photo
Published: Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 01:12 PM.

Seeing an unmet need in the area, a small group of South Walton residents set out to open a cold weather shelter to provide a warm place to sleep during the extreme weather known as the polar vortex.

"It all started in reaction to some tragic events in the homeless community," said South Walton resident Tami Reinhart. "A local filmmaker, Tim Carr, did a documentary about the local homeless. Shortly after he finished,  the homeless man in the film passed away."

The film was an eye-opener, Reinhart said.

"I had been blissfully unaware," she said. "I didn't realize how bad it was. I'm still learning and my head is spinning from all of the information."

Click here to see the film by Tim Carr

Inspired, Reinhart and Santa Rosa Beach resident Frank Day set out to open a cold weather shelter in South Walton. After a few phone calls, they were able to start inviting people to the Coastal Branch Library/ Community Center earlier this month.  

"This has all been a scramble," Reinhart said. "We're still working on an exact temperature in which to open the shelter. We hope to have something permanent in the future."



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