“I’ve been helping start food pantries for 17 years now. The first one was out of the trunk of my car at church. I’m a school teacher and special needs coordinator, and I see how it affects students when they don’t have their basic needs met.
When the pandemic hit, most food pantries shut down because they were staffed by seniors, who were the most vulnerable to COVID. I started helping by bringing food to my own backyard and coordinating with the pantries to pick it up. People who saw the boxes would stop by and ask about the food, so we decided to keep some on hand for neighbors. Then a woman asked if she could tell her sister about it, and next thing we knew, there were 75 people lined up down the street. We made it a weekly distribution with different stations. Libraries were closed, so we had books. Clothing stores were closed, so we had clothes, Christmas stuff, and sneakers. We partnered with health insurance companies to sign people up for COVID testing and vaccines.
Philabundance reached out and asked how they could help. I said, I need to turn this from literal grassroots — my yard, with no grass left — into a building. They said, if you find a building, we’ll help you pay rent. We moved in July 2021 and now serve over 250 people a week. We continue to partner with Philabundance and Share Food Program to source food.
Things have changed over the past few years. People who were once middle class are now struggling. Everyone comes through. Every ethnic background, every language, every age range. It’s so important we have volunteers who represent everyone. Food that is culturally relevant. We try to make sure this is a place of peace, where people are friendly and treated as friends.” – Desiree LaMarr-Murphy
Visit Murphy’s Giving Market Website