UPPER DARBY – Behind a set of nondescript doors in West Chester Pike is a vibrant market that fights food insecurity that has just received a boost in the fight against hunger.
The Franklin Mint Federal Trust has donated $1,000 to Murphy’s Market, located at 7408 West Chester Pike to combat food insecurity in the Upper Darby area.
In the back alley of the market, a group of elderly people were patiently waiting their turn to shop for much-needed items on Monday. On Tuesdays, the pantry is open to the general public and on Wednesdays they host Phil Abundance’s “Let’s Eat” show featuring two full meals, recipes prepared by world-renowned chefs. The recipe cards and food saver are enough for two healthy meals.
The market also provides nutritional programs for children.
Rick Durant, vice president, director of corporate responsibility, said the foundation had started a Pandemic Food Security Fund and Murphy was alerted during a program at Good Morning Philadelphia on Fox29 that he realized was a perfect match for the organizations they were trying to help.
The market was founded by Desireé LaMarr Murphy, a Philadelphia School District employee who started helping neighbors during the pandemic in her backyard. What started for LaMarr Murphy as two weeks has now turned into a large operation with a volunteer and board of directors to oversee the organization.
They now number 250 families who depend on their markets.
“Philabundance is our main supporter, and we were just participating as one of our food bank supporters, and this is so much needed,” said LaMarr Murphy in thanking FMFCU for her donation.
“Food prices are up over 12%, and families can’t afford that,” said Lamar Murphy.
La Mar Murphy said that part of the organization’s growth is bringing in other community groups such as Community Action to meet the needs that lead to food insecurity.
“We have to get complementary services for people to build themselves up and lift themselves out of poverty,” she said.
In addition to the market, they also set up a second-hand shop for cleaning hygiene, clothes, toys, books, microwaves, and anything but furniture.
Lamar Murphy said she has been in the food insecurity field for 15 years and has developed relationships with food banks to escalate when the pandemic began. Many organizations did not have a place to put their food as everything was closed.
She was bringing food home when she asked a woman if she could have some food and then asked if she could call her sister. Before Lamar Murphy knew it, there was a line of 75 people on her street on Sellers Avenue.
“It shows you the need in society,” she said.
She praised Philabundance for meeting the many needs of the market, from vans and refrigeration to space.
“At first I felt like I was being selfish and asking for things, so they said ‘Desiré you’re asking for your community and not for yourself. “They said if you can raise the money for the bills, we’ll take care of the rest.”
Lamar Murphy said food that used to come from the federal government during the height of the pandemic has stopped and that the biggest need in her community, which includes a large Asian and Bangladeshi community, is halal stuff and expensive fish.
“If they don’t get food from their culture, they won’t eat or they’ll take money from medicine or other areas of life to pay for it,” she said.
Lamar Murphy said the folks who need to frequent the store are very grateful for the help.
“We don’t get into any fights, we make people bring us lunches, they bring us water, they talk to us in languages and they dance for us, it’s a real nice atmosphere, calm and serene,” she said. “Many of our volunteers are people who came and said ‘I want to give back’ because they see the need.”
“Uber Darby’s motto is the world in one place, it’s like the good world in one place, it’s really cool and it’s really cool,” said board member Michael Atwell of the market and Lamar Murphy’s efforts. “We match people with needs with donors.”
Seniors shop at Murphy’s Giving Market, Upper Darby food pantry Monday morning. (Peit Banan daily times)
FMFCU’s Durante said they have given more than $25,000 to area food banks over the past two years.
“We give to food pantries in Delaware County, Chester County, Delaware and West Philadelphia,” Durante said. “It’s a common problem no matter where people live, there are food banks in Ardmore on the main line or here.”