Using his walker, Rickey Murrell treks several blocks from his home near the University of Memphis to get his rolling basket filled with needed food at the food pantry at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. He lost his sight about 17 years ago, but he’s not lost his laugh, vitality or self-reliance.
“It’s part of my routine, coming here,” the 61-year old former landscaper said. “The food is good – I especially like the snacks and meats.”
He is both gregarious and remarkable, noted pantry volunteer Larry Romey, who has known Rickey for several years. “He’s an interesting person and very outgoing,” he said.
The food pantry is supported by a coalition of churches. Rickey relies on the food to live independently. He boasts that he manages the food he receives to cook for himself.
“I’m a pretty good chef. I cook fried chicken and banana puddings. I used to bake cakes, but I have trouble spreading the icing!” he joked.
Rickey is fiercely independent, despite his blindness. A couple of years ago, Ricky was walking down the sidewalk toward St. Luke when construction workers, not recognizing his disability, failed to warn him of a deep hole along the sidewalk. His fall into the waste-high hole and the ensuing help from workers to pull him out of it put him on the evening TV news.