UPPER DARBY, Pennsylvania (WPVI) — Desiree’ LaMarr-Murphy has been on a mission making sure families have enough food during the pandemic.
The line starts outside her home several hours before Murphy’s Giving Market opens.
Her makeshift food pantry started by helping nearly a dozen families, and now it serves close to 100 families every week. Many in the community are overjoyed by Murphy’s huge heart.
She has been feeding families from her own home ever since COVID-19 hit.
“It just gives me like a helper’s high,” she said. “It means everything to me to be able to help a community, help people.”
Murphy runs a tight ship. People must wear masks, and she provides hand sanitizer to everyone before they begin selecting groceries.
She’s run several food pantries before, but not to the extent now. Murphy saw there was a need to do more to help families struggling with food insecurity.
Many pantries that are usually open have closed because of the concern of volunteers contracting the virus.
The all-hands-on-deck effort takes place every Tuesday and begins at noon sharp. For the West Philadelphia native, the mission is personal. She has dealt with food insecurity herself many times throughout her life.
“When I was younger we didn’t qualify for the free lunch program, so some days I didn’t get to have free lunch. And then growing up we had a fire and I suffered food insecurities then,” she said.
Murphy and her team of volunteers wake up early every Tuesday. They drive as far as New Jersey and Lancaster to pick up food from various organizations.
She is applying to be a non-profit that way she can begin securing grants. To the community she is hailed as a hero. But Murphy is humble about her efforts.
“I don’t like the term hero or angel or any of that stuff. I just think this is something we saw a need for, and we just did it. To us, it’s just like common sense,” Murphy said.