Sam Fullam: Helping others to heal herself

Sam Fullam (Our York Media)

When Sam Fullam saw the devastation left by Hurricane Irma in Florida last year, she wanted help.

So, she stuffed her little Toyota Corolla to the gills with donated clothing, hygiene products, and emergency supplies to make the trek south.

But, there was one problem: Once word of her plan spread, other donations started pouring in — more than she could fit in her car.

That’s when the idea of Samantha’s Free Market was formed.

Why not give those extra donated items directly to people in need here in York? No questions, no judgment, just a helping hand.

Seeing so much need in York has driven Sam to expand.

Her first free market was in November. She hoped maybe 200 people would show up over the course of two days.

By the end of the first day, Sam had served over 1,000 people and exhausted her supply of donations.

One woman stood out. She was in her late 20’s, not much older than Sam.

The woman had tears in her eyes as Sam handed her a supply of feminine hygiene products. This is the first time I’ve had real tampons or pads in a year, she told Sam.

It hit home with Sam. That woman could have been her.

Sam was sexually assaulted when she was 15, and, for a long time after that, she struggled with self-sabotage.  It took years for her to recover and figure out who she was — it was only luck that she never ended up homeless, she says.

Helping other people has brought her a joy she hadn’t known since before the assault.  She considers it part of her recovery.

Seeing so much need in York has driven Sam to expand. She has two more free markets planned and is including community resource booths to connect people to services.

In helping heal others, Sam says, she’s healing herself.

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