People with Purpose: S’well Shares Stories from #ForTheFrontlines

Friday, May 8th, 2020

Since S’well launched For The Frontlines in early April, we’ve received an overwhelming outpouring of support for the healthcare heroes that have been vital to keeping us safe during these uncertain times. What we’ve learned from nearly 500 emails and conversations is that healthcare providers have been asked to go above and beyond, at times taking on new roles and working in new departments, to meet the demands created by COVID-19. They have set aside reservations to answer the call, putting their own safety (and that of their families) at risk to keep us safe. 

The notes we’ve received from nurses, team leads, doctors, friends, daughters, wives, husbands and so many more highlight a world filled with gratitude for the service our healthcare heroes are performing and acknowledgement of the psychological drain the COVID-19 experience has had on individuals, teams and the system. 

With For The Frontlines, S’well set out to do our part. We wanted to be a source of support and inspiration to these individuals and teams that are keeping us safe, helping us say goodbye from afar and giving us hope that we will get through this trying time. We knew the protective gear that healthcare staff wear and the long hours were making it difficult to stay hydrated. That’s why we committed to donating $250,000 worth of bottles to the frontlines with the hope of doing even more with the S’well community’s support. To date, we’ve distributed more than $500,000 worth of bottles – including our classic insulated bottles, wide mouth water bottles and Commuters.

Beyond providing frontline responders with a joyful moment, we hope to use this program as a way to share the personal stories and give names to the faces that make the sacrifice and resiliency of this community so blatantly clear. Our healthcare heroes truly are people with purpose.

One of the hospitals hardest hit in the United States due to COVID-19 is Elmhust Hospital in Queens, New York.  Over the last few weeks, Mamie McIndoe and colleagues shared their personal experience with S’well. And now we share it with you: 

We see hundreds of patients coming in very, very sick and hundreds more have been waiting for tests. Our frontline staff — the real heroes — are working at 200% capacity trying to save lives and combat a virus unlike any seen before. As a teaching hospital, we are also modeling safety protocol and ways of treating illness to not only save lives but build careers and practices. Our staff is kind, caring and compassionate. Many times frustrated by the intensity of the virus and how rapidly one declines.

As there are no visitors allowed, it is extremely hard to not have a loved  one close by and we become that person. We have a program in place to do our best to connect our patients and their families. I can’t imagine being the family or their patient. My job in Patient Experience is to help foster that communication. Our hospital is unique and in the most diverse area of our country at times we can speak and connect to over 140 languages. Our staff reflects our patients and communities and this makes us stronger and better.

We are so honored by the support of our community and S’well. This wonderful token of your support means so much as it is hip, green, practical and will keep us hydrated. I am a single mother and hope I live to see my daughter again. I am frightened by this, but never once would I consider not helping my fellow man to fight this virus and support our staff and community. — Mamie McIndoe — April 8, 2020


I have never felt so happy about my decision to be a doctor. Be it a physical visit for urgent visits, or tele-visits, or COVID hotline call, or calling families of  admitted patients — I get blessings every day! I see and follow-up with the newborns born to COVID-19 positive mothers. A call from me makes their day that someone cares s

o much about them. Likewise, just by knowing that both mother and baby are doing well, it makes my day, too. All our pediatricians are also helping the adult medicine team to follow-up the adult patients on the floor, as well as the 311 COVID hotline. Some are working in adult ED, and in-patient settings. It is totally out of our comfort zone but, as far as anything that helps our patients and our community, we are happy to do that. Just to share some experiences. 

There was one COVID hotline call I attended. A geriatric patient who lived by himself had called to ask for more information on COVID. He started gasping for breath while on the phone — I called 911 immediately for help. That night I couldn’t sleep, I have never had a panic attack before, but I did have one that day. I get solace in the fact that I did something that could help! Another experience, I would like to share is of calling the families of the patients admitted to adult floor who cannot come to visit their loved ones. Yes, families truly appreciate that! I spoke with a lady today whose husband was admitted. She sounded very tearful. She said her brother passed away because of COVID-19, now her husband is admitted for the same. She has no one to talk to and felt so happy that I called her. Plus, her husband’s insurance was giving her a lot of trouble and she was feeling helpless about whom to talk to! I spokewith the social worker of the primary team who agreed to help this lady.  

There are very few people in the world who can say ‘I love my job!’ — I can say that for sure! Little things matter in life, everyone can contribute!​ — Snehal Akre, Pediatrician — April 14, 2020


I have never had such gratitude for my teammates as we run the Helping Healers Heal Team at NYC Health + Hospitals/ Elmhurst.  This peer support network was started to do exactly what the program title says — “help healers heal” — and, unfortunately, there has never been a time that our healthcare workers have needed more support and healing. We care so much about each and every patient, their families, and our neighborhoods and COVID-19 has been devastating in NYC. There is hope and our entire hospital has banded together and risen to the challenge of this pandemic in an epic way. We are blessed to have each other, to have this healing program to help our teams, and to have the outpouring of love and support from the local communities. Suzanne Bentley, MD MPH FACEP — April 17, 2020


To help S’well do more For The Frontlines, shop and donate through May.