Peorian nominated to be a Disney Magic Maker for philanthropy work

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A Peoria man is filling a need and getting recognized by Disney for his efforts.

Michael Murphy of Peoria raised more than $24,000 to install water bottle fillers in 14 Peoria Public Schools, after schools shut off water fountains because of COVID-19.

“We were told that the kids could go to the restrooms and refill them under the bathroom sinks, however, I just felt like there had to be a more safe and sustainable way for the kids to get water both at that time and moving forward in the future,” he said.

For his efforts, he is a nominee in the Disney Magic Maker Contest, a nationwide search to reward those who made an impact in their community during the pandemic.

Murphy’s contributions don’t stop with his bottle filler initiative. He has also rallied the community to stock the “Little Free” libraries and pantries located at each school.

“Those are the basic necessities I feel like that the kids were needing at the time. It’s something we could take action on, and fix right away,” he said.

Murphy said it took a village to have all this come together.

“It’s truly magical. If you stop and think about it, I didn’t do this alone. This was all part of a big community effort,” he said.

Monday morning, Illinois American Water stopped by Murphy’s home to drop off 2,000 plastic water bottles. He said those will be donated to PPS students.

“There’s such a need in our community. There are families in our own backyard that we don’t really realize that probably struggle with some sort of an issue. They just need a little bit of help,” he said.

If selected, Murphy will win a trip to Walt Disney World Resort for the 50th Anniversary.

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