Due to rising unemployment rates, increased food costs and supply chain changes, the issue of food insecurity has been exacerbated further during the pandemic. This year, an estimated 54 million Americans, including 18 million American children, are now food insecure. Meaning, the limited availability of nutritional, safe foods has doubled, and child food insecurity has tripled throughout the course of the pandemic.
West Philadelphia native and special-ed teacher, Desiree’ LaMarr-Murphy, set out on a mission from the start of 2020 to ensure families in the community had sufficient food and resources.
After growing up food deprived, Murphy promised two things: to never again suffer hunger, and to help feed children and their families by creating food pantries in schools and other locations throughout the region. Now, during the pandemic, Murphy has cultivated a food pantry out of her own Upper Darby home. The widowed mother of five daughters sprung up Murphy’s Giving Market through a network of food donors. What started as helping nearly a dozen families, the food pantry now serves close to 100 families every week.
“This helps a lot. We are feeding four adults and four kids in my house, and this is very good food. Everything is fresh. I feel blessed,” said Maria Guzman, a pantry client and local manicurist whose hours were curtailed due to the pandemic.
Murphy provides hand sanitizer to everyone before they begin selecting groceries and all are required to wear a mask to maintain safety. The all-hands-on-deck effort takes place every Tuesday, beginning at 12:00 PM sharp. Murphy and her team of volunteers wake up every Tuesday morning and drive as far as New Jersey and Lancaster to pick up food from various organizations.
Murphy will be applying to become a non-profit and continues to express gratitude and humbleness towards everyone involved. “It just gives me like a helper’s high. It means everything to me to be able to help a community, help people,” Murphy expressed.
Information provided by 6ABC News.