In January of 2018, after a political firestorm, the United States Government shut down.
News stations from around the country reported on families losing their cars and their homes after missing just one paycheck. One paycheck.
That is when KELCURT Foundation was born.
Founders, Curtis Cecil and Kelly Flemings, recognized that due to global economics, the age of town / village self-sufficiency was becoming threatened. Local community events are giving way to big box entertainment, community centers are closing and public libraries are facing intense budgetary challenges.
The average house in our community sold for $59,000 in 2008. In 2019, the current average sale is now $259,000. In just 10 years, housing costs have more than tripled, utilities bills have tripled, and the days of building your own home, on your own land is gone.
Most Americans are now classified as ALICE, a fancy acronym that refers to a family that works and can still barely meet the needs of their family. Most of the people in our country are simply one paycheck away of losing everything.
It was time for someone to step up.
KELCURT Foundation was created to organize and teach others to become more self-sustainable focusing on three primary pillars: Agriculture, Community and Education.
We need to eat. It is that simple.
And here are the facts:
· 2% of all of American Farm Land is owned by foreign countries (Google Foreign owned farm land in America)
· From Generation X forward, family owned farm land has decreased. Corporate owned farm land has increased. This means corporations are controlling the food sources.
· Our general knowledge of food creation is decreasing with each generation as most people forego the hard work of raising food to the convenience of purchasing from stores.
· There are, on average, 8-10 major food recalls per month that the average citizen may never hear about.
· Our food supply is becoming increasing genetically modified and just a few corporations are poised to control the entire food production for the entire world.
KELCURT Foundation is on a five-year mission to create community gardens and communal farm lands to teach citizens how to raise their own food.
KELCURT Foundation is currently working on our Food Forest Project. This project incorporates local tree farmers to install Peach, Apple, and Pear trees on public properties and local schools to be available as a free food source for all.
Social media has allowed us to pull away from our neighbors and with so much information at our fingertips, it is our belief that many have chosen to watch life as a bystander instead of participating.
Lack of physical, in-person social interaction has proven to have detrimental effects, both physical and psychological. According to a recent study, 1 out of every 6 Americans is on some form of antidepressant medication.
There are hundreds of theories as to why these numbers are so high. But we believe that if our organization can help in any manner, it is obligated to do so.
This first major project for KELCURT Foundation is currently 3 years ahead of schedule.
The SDCL was created to be a 2nd home to the residents of Soddy-Daisy and surrounding communities. A place to meet, talk, work, and study together.
Our 4-year-planning-goal was to bring people out of their houses and reconnect with community.
Our goal was to hit 10 % of the population within a 4 year growing period and to have 5000 books. As of November 2019, 1.5 years into our growth, we house well over 20,000 items and enjoy 1364 patrons representing over 11%.
(Update- Feb. 4, 2020 : We currently have 1678 patrons and over 22,000 items in our library.)
We offer workshops for adults and children including jewelry making, sewing, quilting, off-the-grid living, raising chickens, water-color painting, and acrylic painting.
Social events include Adult Book Club, Tween Book Club, Anime Club, Soddy-Daisy Writer's Guild, weekly story times and so much more.
Turn on the television or read the paper and every day you will see budget cuts, proposed tax hikes, and overcrowded classrooms.
When KELCURT Foundation setup the Soddy-Daisy Community Library, we not only wanted to provide a community meeting area and provide books, we also wanted to provide support for our educators and schools.
Our first step was to create a private non-profit foundation to control our many projects and goals.
This first step was critical to avoid the need for tax-payer monies. But, without financial support, it has made us dependent on individual contributions. Luckily, Curtis and Kelly have privately funded the foundation and will continue to do so until it can become self-sufficient itself.
(UPDATE - On October 31, 2019 - KELCURT Foundation became operationally self-sufficient)
The library provides books, movies, teaching resources, stem workshops, reading camps and programs for all ages, and literacy assistance.
The SDCL currently has partners in 5 counties: Hamilton, Sequatchie, Bradly, Bledsoe and Rhea. Our outreach provides literacy workshops to schools and organizations.
We provide class sets to teachers. (A class-set is 26 of the same book, and many schools no longer have the budgets to obtain these.) This is where we step up and provide the resources our teachers truly need. We have provided class sets to our local elementary, middle, and high schools and new sets are added by request.
Our class-sets allow a teacher to check out all 26 books at once, and return when completed. This service provides a way for teachers to obtain needed materials, without upsetting their school's overburdened budget.