Michelle takes volunteering for homeless veterans a step further and starts a nonprofit
Four years ago, Michelle Fulk, her husband Randy, and their family were happy residents of Fort Wayne. They were well employed, and in their spare time they planned motorcycle rides to raise funds for homeless veterans.
But in early 2013, tragedy struck. Randy died and Michelle and her family were grief-stricken. Luckily they had each other and friends in the area for support, but things just weren't the same.
One day in October 2013, Michelle's friend Janet invited her to a volunteer event with her co-workers. At first Michelle wasn't too sure, but then Janet told her they were going to a homeless veteran shelter. Michelle hadn't done anything for homeless veterans since her husband died, so she excitedly agreed.
A few weeks later, they went to the Richard Lugar Safe Haven and Michelle loved it. She enjoyed interacting with the residents and doing her part to make sure they were living in comfort and care. The impact was so great, that she decided to feed all of the residents for Thanksgiving. So a few weeks later, Michelle, her daughter, and her mother made enough food for the 25 hungry, homeless veterans temporarily residing at Safe Haven.
After the long weekend, at work her co-workers were surprised and intrigued when they learned that she spent her day caring for the homeless veterans seeking shelter at Safe Haven. Their interest was piqued, and they decided they wanted to volunteer as well. So once a month, they organized a time to go to Safe Haven and cook a meal for all the residents. They started to get to know the residents so well, that their service expanded. Once 2014 came around, Michelle was heading over there at least twice a month, and soon she and her co-workers were collecting donations for the residents as well as cooking for all of them.
Then, after about a year and a half, Michelle founded her own non-profit called City County Charity Group (CCCG) on January 19, 2016. It's named in honor of the group that originally started volunteering; her co-workers who work for the city of Fort Wayne and Allen County. The funds that she receives for her nonprofit are used to buy things for Safe Haven. For example, Michelle bought two new computers, Christmas gifts, sports bras, and bed sheets for the homeless veterans. She also organized a group to fix the sinks, and now she's working on installing a water line for the new refrigerator purchased by CCCG for handicapped residents.What keeps Michelle motivated to serve these men and women in need? Their smiles and her goal to build the residents up to get to where they need to be. Her greatest joy in volunteering is spending time with the residents. In her own words, "It's an honor and a blessing to even step foot in the facility and be in the midst of all those who have served and who are in need. And I am dedicated to contribute and help them in any way."