Feed the Creek volunteers help distribute food at a distribution event. CONTRIBUTED

Coronavirus: ‘People now realize we can’t do life alone,’ nonprofit director says

As founder and executive director of a nonprofit, Sharon Fulcher has experienced what her community looks like “behind the curtain” during a crisis like the coronavirus pandemic.

Feed the Creek is a weekend food program that provides food bags for children in the Beavercreek School District who might otherwise go hungry over the weekend. Like many other organizations, it’s had to adapt during the pandemic.

Fulcher founded the nonprofit in 2010 after attending a conference where she heard about similar food programs. Her first thought was how lucky they were in Beavercreek that they didn’t have this problem. However, the possibility that she might be wrong nagged at her and she decided to look into it.

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“Being in Beavercreek, our biggest hurdle was educating people because we’re a very proud community to think, ‘Hey we don’t have these (hunger) problems here,’” Fulcher said. “And I have to admit, I was in that category before Feed the Creek.”

Since early April, the organization has been working closer than ever with the Beavercreek school district to make sure no students are skipped or left without enough food as families try to navigate the pandemic. As a non-government organization, Fulcher said Feed the Creek is better able to help families who would not typically qualify for other assistance programs.

The nonprofit assists many families in Beavercreek where grandparents or even great grandparents are the primary caretakers. Situations like this usually related to the opioid epidemic, Fulcher said. Some of these older relatives do not qualify for some other assistance.

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“If you could live in some of these people’s lives, you would feel totally different,” Fulcher said. “We have come a long way (since 2010).”

Through all of the bad COVID-19 brought with it, Fulcher said it has also brought some positives, as well a little needed humility.

“(The pandemic) has made communities more aware of the fact that we are just as vulnerable as anybody else,” Fulcher said. “Some families who had no needs necessarily and to all of a sudden realize they lost their job over something like this — to realize how quickly life can change and you’re in the same boat as anybody else.”

The lesson Fulcher started to learn back in 2010 has been made clearer, first, Fulcher said, by the 2019 Memorial Day tornadoes and now the virus.

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“So, even though there has been so much negative, there’s been a lot of positive for people to realize that we can’t do life alone,” Fulcher said. “To see some of that pride that was there be able to be softened … and just watch them pull together — it’s amazing to me.”

To donate, learn about volunteering or help connect someone who might be struggling with hunger, visit Feed the Creek’s website at https://feedthecreek.org/.

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