Soup Entrepreneur in the District Gives Back to Healthcare Heroes During COVID-19 - Gratitude Story

Soup Entrepreneur in the District Gives Back to Healthcare Heroes During COVID-19 - Gratitude Story

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Is there food more comforting than soup? Sara Polon doesn’t think so. As the co-founder and chief executive officer of Soupergirl, Polon and her mother Marilyn began their company making fresh and natural soups for the greater Washington, D.C., area over 10 years ago. In early 2020, as coronavirus began to sweep across the country, Polon was looking for a way to support local healthcare heroes in the area and remembered that a friend had gone through a successful rehabilitation experience at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital. With that in mind, Polon contacted MedStar Health to inquire about the ability to express gratitude through an in-kind partnership and provide comfort with what she knew best—healthy food.

Sara Polon

“I’m sad it took a pandemic for the community to recognize that we rely on healthcare workers,” Polon notes. Her gratitude to those on the front lines continued over the next few months, and resulted in regular, weekly contributions to the healthcare associates of MedStar NRH totaling donations of over 800 soups and salads. The weekly meals from Soupergirl inspired optimism amongst and helped fuel—literally and figuratively—the MedStar NRH team members. Ranging from the overnight nursing shift to the environmental staff, each weekly delivery targeted a different team of MedStar NRH associates. Campbell Frank, philanthropy officer at MedStar NRH, notes “our staff make an incredible difference in the lives of so many. Gifts-in-kind from the community are a physical reminder—in this case, delicious and nutritious soups and salads—that the dedication of our hardworking staff does not go unnoticed.”

Our staff have been awed by Soupergirl’s generosity; more so, they were ecstatic to receive a delicious and healthy meal that could be eaten quickly between shifts. Director of quality & patient safety Judy Zdobysz, who helped distribute the meals to MedStar NRH associates, added, “the food has been so well received and our staff are so grateful for the generosity.” The support MedStar NRH received from Soupergirl absolutely makes a difference in the ability to do everything we can to address the needs of our patients, while maintaining best-in-class acute rehabilitative care.

While Soupergirl provided meals throughout the region, the partnership with MedStar NRH was strengthened due to great relationships formed between our associates and the Soupergirl staff. Polon explains, “the MedStar NRH team engaged with us on a level that no one else did. There was positive feedback and extreme gratitude from the staff which fed the Soupergirl team’s motivation. When our team prepared food for the staff at MedStar NRH, there was a whole new level of appreciation.”

Soupergirl reminded MedStar Health associates that the community cares—and that this partnership was one grounded in gratitude.

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