Community Gem: Feed the Creek founder celebrates 13 years of helping kids

For more than 10 years, Sharon Fulcher, founder of Feed the Creek, has worked to make sure kids at Beavercreek City Schools have the nutritious foods they need to learn.

The organization provides a weekend food program for kids in Beavercreek City Schools. Volunteers fill bags with goods that are distributed to each of the schools in Beavercreek and given to families who need it.

It also stocks 23 “little pantries” around the city, at fire stations, libraries, churches, and other locations.

Fulcher was nominated as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem by Margie Perenic, who said she is a big proponent of Feed the Creek.

“A child that is hungry, a child that does not get a good night’s sleep — the basics — these children can’t learn, because they’re not physically ready to learn,” Perenic said.

The problem of child hunger often flies under the radar. What began as a personal inquiry by Fulcher in August of 2010 evolved into an effort to address the problem alongside local schools, churches, and other community organizations.

“That whole summer I could not get away from that whole idea: Do we really have a problem in Beavercreek and I just don’t know about it?”

Fulcher reached out to the school district in the summer of 2010 to see if there was need for a weekend food program, and found that there had been a need for one in some form for about three years.

“And I said, ‘Well, we’re going to get one started,’ and that’s really where I began,” Fulcher said.

Feed the Creek runs entirely on donations, and does not accept government assistance. The organization initially faced criticism and pushback from other residents. Many of the comments indicated that their work was the responsibility of the parents, or that Beavercreek doesn’t really have hunger in schools.

“I found in getting that information that six out of ten kids, at the time, were getting free and reduced meals. And so that shocked me,” Fulcher said.

About 60% of the families served by Feed the Creek are children being raised by their grandparents, Fulcher said, according to a survey by the organization. Many of those children have parents recovering from drug addiction, and grandparents who own their homes are disqualified for other forms of government assistance.

A 2022 report by Generations United estimated that about 2.5 million children are being raised by a relative or family friend without a parent living in the household. That same report also estimated that one in four grandparent-headed households experience food insecurity.

“You just don’t know what’s going on in somebody’s life,” Fulcher said.

A Beavercreek resident of more than 25 years, knowing there are people out there that need help, food, and encouragement, keeps Feed the Creek alive and well.

“It’s just knowing that you can make a difference in your community, and in people’s lives,” she said.

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