Local officer provides outreach for residents in need


FAIRBORN — Fairborn police officer Sam Fullen has partnered with Kroger and the Fairborn FISH Pantry to donate supplies for residents in need.

In late April, Fullen and the Kroger “Promise Team” dropped off food and other essential supplies to those in need. While the group continues to donate, April 26 specifically was a major donation event. According to WDTN, the partnership is still in its early stages, and both parties hope to continue doing community-oriented work for locals.

Fullen discovered Kroger’s new “Promise Team” in December, and since then he said he has been looking for ways to grow the partnership. According to Fullen, the inspiration behind this work began with a wellness check in December 2022. After finding a man in need of food and water, he made the trip to Kroger to find the supplies needed to help.

Kroger manager Brent Greene met with Fullen to help the man and donate enough supplies to last days. Months later, Greene and Fullen met again to discuss future projects to help similar Fairborn residents in need. According to Greene, Kroger has been working on developing the Promise Team and wanted to help out with the struggles Fullen had been encountering on duty.

Through months of discussions with Promise Team leaders Tabea Radford and Tonya Timmons, Police Chief Ben Roman, the Fairborn FISH Pantry, and others, the three groups created a plan to help community members with long-term goals in mind.

According to Fullen, he serves as the “information gatherer,” finding individuals in need and creating a brief synopsis of immediate needs and a log of donation amounts.

“As of now the Promise Team, Fairborn FISH, and myself are meeting bi-weekly,” said Fullen in an email. “During the meetings, I present several families/individuals in need for Brent and the Promise Team to choose from. Once they select someone to receive a donation I will be assisting in helping the recipient set up a time to collect the goods.”

In the case of individuals being unable to pick up supplies from Kroger themselves, Fullen said he offers to give rides to and from Kroger to get the residents what they need.

Jane and Bill Doorely from the FISH Pantry have worked to create three distinct care packages suited to provide two, four, or six people with enough supplies to last two full days. According to Fullen, these packages not only include nutritionally balanced meals of food and water, but hygiene products as well.

“The two-day span was by design,” said Fullen. By allowing for two days without worrying about basic needs, Fullen is able to refer the individuals to the FISH Pantry which follows up and determines how they can help in a long-term, sustainable way.

“This will keep new people moving through the program during each meeting without creating dependency on Kroger,” said Fullen. “All of our efforts are in addition to the thousands of pounds of food Fairborn Kroger already donates to Fairborn FISH, and the hundreds of thousands of meals Fairborn FISH serves each year. Admittedly, some of these events take a lot of leg work. But I enjoy talking to people and creating partnerships that will help our efforts.”

Efforts within the outreach group are in addition to regular duties as a police officer, according to Fullen, and while it can be difficult to fit it in between calls, he is motivated to give back to the community.

“My late father was a kind, giving man, that unfortunately left this world too soon,” he said. “My father gave back to the community all throughout his life, and he raised me the same way. I consider my assistance with this matter as a way to honor his memory.”

Contact Ethan Charles at 937-502-4532.

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