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Working Together to Give Seven Stranded Families an Easter Miracle

The Unintended Consequences of Morrison’s Pop-Up Markets

Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati has helped keep kids healthy, in this region and beyond, for over half a century. Morrison has been a part of that mission for more than a decade, and our Rooftop Café is a popular spot for healthcare workers in the busy hospital neighborhood.

When Shriners’ COVID-19 response shut the facility down to most visitors, the café was reconfigured with a small pop-up market, so our healthcare heroes would have a place to stop and shop after a long shift—without the nervous stares they often elicit at the grocery when still in scrubs.

But local hospital visitation isn’t the only consequence of the shutdown. Because international travel stopped while the world works to fight the virus, Ohio’s premier pediatric specialty hospital was left caring for seven families from outside the U.S. They have been stranded in Cincinnati since March.

They don’t know when they’ll be able to return home.

Shriners stepped in to support these families with housing and meal vouchers at our Rooftop Café. They also provided the families with Kroger cards and rides in the hospital shopping van, which would take them to the grocery store once a week.

At the beginning of April, however, hospital restrictions were tightened and passenger service was suspended. There would be no more trips to the store.

Worried, the families asked if someone from outside the hospital could bring food in. That request was also denied because of the possibility of contamination. It was a frustrating catch-22.

That’s when Morrison’s team stepped up. Director of Food and Nutrition Services Nancy Carver and Shriners’ Director of Family Care Cindy DeSerna began to brainstorm some solutions.

“Enter our team and the Pop-Up Market,” smiles Nancy. “I asked if they could find out what items the mothers needed, so that we could provide it. Some of them were from Central America and Africa and spoke very little English. I only [speak] one language, so communication was challenging.”

The hospital was thrilled and relieved that Morrison had figured out how to deliver these seven stranded families a solution. Hospital translators helped each mother create a detailed shopping list, and Nancy was able to procure 95% of what they needed.

“The Family Care Unit bought some items that were on everyone’s list—flour, sugar, cooking oil, the staples,” says Nancy. “I purchased some large containers and asked one of our associates to assist with delivery. The unit’s kitchen was alive with activity and joy!”

The first deliveries came in on Friday, April 10, just in time for Easter. “Shriners provided vouchers for shopping, and our associates bagged the groceries with gloves, so no products were individually handled,” remembers Nancy. “There was so much fun and laughter, even with the language barrier.”

Everyone was excited that these wonderful families would have a real Easter celebration.

We’re proud that Morrison rose to the challenge, giving these seven families comfort, hope, and laughter while our healthcare heroes work so hard to get their children back up and running. Because we will get through this, together.

We’re here to help! View our COVID-19 Resource Center.


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