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Helping others, one hamper at a time

Michael Murphy has been delivering hampers to schools in Iqaluit for the past four years. photo courtesy of Michael Murphy

It all started with the desire of one man to help feed hungry school children. The goal was to give breakfast hampers to students for the holiday season. Four years later, over 120 hampers are being delivered all over Iqaluit to those in need by one man alone.

In 2015, Iqaluit resident Michael Murphy wanted to help make a difference within his community.

“When I started, my mission was simple. All I wanted to do was to see that no child goes hungry,” said Murphy.

With the goal of collecting donations for food, Murphy started a fundraising page on Facebook.

Now, over the years through social media and word of mouth, a plethora of donors have contributed to his cause.

Karen Miller from Cobourg, Ontario, was “intrigued” by Murphy’s efforts to help the northern community.”

“I don't think people in southern Canada realize the hardships the Northern residents endure. Michael has inspired ourselves and our friends to do more,” said Miller.

He accepts donations of items or money. With the donated funds, he either purchases items locally or online. For his donors he then posts the receipts and photos on Facebook.

Miller who has donated both money and clothes commented, “I love that he shows us through his pictures the fruits of our labours. It's the pictures of the people that receive the donations that warm my heart.”

Murphy has received all sorts of donations including backpacks, mittens, hats, toiletries, school supplies, feminine products and even Christmas cards.

The vast majority of the donations come from places down south in Canada.

“I have some really strong supporters down south and they’ll hustle for me,” said Murphy.

However, he alone picks up shipped donations by cab and organizes the hampers in his apartment.

“It’s a lot of work that I have to put into it, but it’s worth it,” explained Murphy.

This year Murphy delivered 120 hampers to schools, shelters and elders. 35 hampers were picked up at his home by college students, single parents and individuals who need social assistance.

Jason Rochon, who works at Iqaluit’s Joamie elementary school, recognizes Murphy’s thoughtfulness.

“This December he dropped off food bags and we put them under the Christmas tree,” said Rochon. When the kids pass by the Christmas tree they can just grab a hamper, he explained.

Murphy is planning on carrying this holiday spirit into the new year. Due to all the donations, he will be preparing 20 more hampers for Jan. 2020.

“I just do it because it needs to be done,” said Murphy.

Food hampers for students at Joamie elementary school in Iqaluit. photo courtesy of Jason Rochon