NewsPinellas County


St. Anthony’s Hospital honors employee who makes 'Monroe Mercy Packages' to help those in need

Linda Pondexter-Gidron is an 'extreme couponer'
Monroe Mercy Package
Posted at 4:03 AM, Dec 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-18 07:08:38-05

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — When Linda Pondexter-Gidron’s brother Monroe fell ill with COPD and could no longer work, she sent him boxes of household necessities.

“He would always call me up and say, ‘I got my mercy package,’” says Linda, who works as a volunteer specialist at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.

Monroe died in March.

Linda is keeping his name and legacy alive by giving “Monroe Mercy Packages” to people in need. As an “extreme couponer,” she has more than enough supplies stacked up at home.

“Extreme couponing is when you go to Publix and they owe you money!” Linda says with a laugh.

Monroe Mercy Packages are stuffed with laundry detergent, toilet paper, paper towels and more than $100 worth of items.

With her coupons, they each cost Linda “probably less than 10 bucks to make.” After she gave a Monroe Mercy Package to a hospital staffer battling cancer, her boss Heather Rutkowski nominated Linda for a service award, which she won.

“She’s always looking for the next person to give to,” says Heather.

Linda has handed out about 50 Monroe Mercy Packages so far, and would like to give at least one a week over the holidays.

The supplies are crowding her home, but she has an idea.

“I think I might get a she-shed!” Linda says with a smile.