Hospital volunteer makes going home after treatment easier

A hospital volunteer specialist is helping patients and the community with her kind acts.

Linda Pondexter-Gidron collects and packs up essential household items to give to people in need.

"Trash bags, Lysol cleaning products," she listed as she put items into a container. "Some detergent, some Gain."

The volunteer specialist at St. Anthony's Hospital started this endeavor a year ago. It started with boxes of household items for her brother, Monroe Pondexter.

"He was doing dialysis, so I just wanted to make sure he had the necessities that he needed there at home," Linda said.

Monroe died last year and Linda decided to honor his memory by giving away home essentials and non-perishable food items.  

"I see the need in the community so I just wanted to be able to continue and help. So that's why I started the Monroe Mercy Packages," Linda said.

This one-woman operation helped more than 50 families last year.

Linda's effort has not gone unnoticed. She just won the Service Excellence Champion Award from St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.

"She amazing," said Volunteer Coordinator for St. Anthony's Hospital Heather Rutkowski. "She [has] such a kind heart and is always looking to help the next individual in need."

Linda hopes her acts of charity will inspire others.  

"Hopefully it's a ripple effect that others can do the same that I do," Linda said.