Micky Doherty, a much-loved local hero, has a huge following on his social media pages, which he has used as a platform to raise thousands of pounds that he spent on food to feed families in the north west whose lives have been impacted by the Coronavirus lockdown.
Mr Doherty is so well-known, and has so many followers and friends on Facebook, that he was asked by a local politician if he would use his page for Coronavirus updates.
Inundated with messages from distraught people who were finding it nearly impossible to make ends meet, Mr Doherty decided to dedicate the free time he unexpectedly found himself with to raising funds, and turned to the people of the city to help him.
Mr Doherty told the Belfast Telegraph: “I was left with time on my hands because I couldn’t take up my new job in Belfast because of the lockdown and so many people were sending me messages to say they were struggling.
“This was breaking my heart that people were contacting me, even in the middle of the night, crying, who had lost their job because of coronavirus and had no money and were at their wit’s end.
“I was asked to use my Facebook page as a Covid-19 page, because I have 5,000 friends and 15,000 followers, by a local councillor so it would be used for getting information out.
“I did that and decided to use it to ask local people if they would donate a pound or two so I could get food to some of these struggling families, and it just grew from there.
“I go on the page every night and do my bit. Everybody knows me and it wasn’t long before I was inundated with offers from people who wanted to donate money.
“The sad thing is, there are literally hundreds of people in Derry who need help so the money is being spent as fast as it comes in. It is overwhelming.
“I am running here, there and everywhere with hampers but a few local businesses have come on board and are helping me with deliveries, food donations and things like that. Everybody has been fed, no one has run out of food and those who need a few pounds for oil or gas has got it.”
While Mr Doherty is hailed across Derry as a real local hero, he said helping people during this crisis brings him benefits, too.
He said: “I suffer from ADHD and this is good for my mental health, too, but I definitely would not consider myself a hero.
“I just like helping vulnerable people who are really, really stuck,” he added.
“The Derry people are just amazing.
“I love them so much and they have been amazing. They know me and trust me and that is why this has worked so well. It is through them that I have been able to help so many others.
“This has affected hundreds of families but I think things will start to settle down soon because the Universal Credit payments will be coming through, but if I have to keep doing what I am doing until the lockdown is lifted then so be it.”