By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
PLEASANTVILLE – From one home-grown recipe, Andre Murphy has fed an entire community in Atlantic County and on March 1 reached the 10,000 meals served marked in his mission to help others during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.
“Murphy’s Chicken N Potatoes” is not only the staple for Murphy’s Community Feeding Tour, but it has fed souls, spirits and warmed hearts as well as feeding the hungry during his meal drive. It is an emotional mission Murphy said he is still passionate about.
“The Community Feeding Tour came into existence after a six-week fundraiser series that used ‘Murphy’s Chicken N Potatoes’ to raise monies for Grace Tabernacle Church,” Murphy told Front Runner New Jersey this month. “I wanted to continue to feed people and in October 2020, I created the Community Feeding Tour.
Murphy, who resides in Pleasantville, said his first Community Feeding Tour was a 60-day campaign with 18 generous sponsors while the moment was limited during COVID-19 lockdowns.
“We toured five cities weekly, and served a total of 3,500 hot meals,” Murphy said. “The Community Feeding Tour II kicked off in late June of 2021 for six weeks serving a total of 2,400 people.
“We added serving seniors to this tour. The third tour launched in October of 2021 while serving 300 delicious hot meals to AtlantiCare’s employees on Oct. 28 during First Responders Day.”
Murphy said it was family that got him started as a chef and spread it to the community.
“My family is full of bakers, chefs, and cooks,” Murphy said. “So, it was just a matter of time before I threw my hat in the ring. I was cooking at an early age, but I was never serious about it.
“Once I started, my daughters, wife and son became my biggest fans. My middle daughter De’Andre pushed me to put out my dish in the spring of 2020 in the heart of the pandemic and ‘Murphy’s Chicken N Potatoes’ was born.
Murphy said his desire for helping others keeps him going and praised his team members who are “just as passionate as me when it comes to serving our community.”
That team includes 11 members – from chefs, cooks, teachers, bus drivers, IT specialists, and consultants.
“They all bring so much positive energy and collectively we’ve been able to pull off some incredible holiday-themed feeding events,” Murphy said.
Murphy said he has been fortunate to build a loyal base of sponsors and has now started a “Heat N Eat” Series, a monthly campaign used for “Murphy’s Chicken N Potatoes.”
He said the dishes are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and they accept $15 donations.
The feeding tour has been around Atlantic County but is now expanding to two other counties as well.
“Our goal for this year is to implement our new Food Resource Call Center,” Murphy said. “Our organization has developed an innovative approach to reducing food insecurity with our new “Feeding Communities” initiative.
He said his food distributor “Salad Chef” is now able to ship half to full pallets to aid communities local, regional and national with the FDA approval.
“This opens up national opportunities to partner with sports, corporations, organizations, and colleges to help support our efforts in feeding communities,” Murphy said. “We are rolling out this spring a series of jackets, mugs, t-shirts, and aprons with the ‘Murphy’s Chicken N Potatoes’ brand name attached for fundraising opportunities.”
Murphy through his efforts has stretched his chicken and potatoes a long way, much to the delight of hungry residents in Atlantic County.
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