Chamber Insider Blog

Women’s History Month Spotlight: Devina Mahapatra, Dulles South Soup Kitchen

Thank you Devina for answering a few of our questions! Check out the Dulles South Soup Kitchen website here. Learn more about the Chamber’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility (DEIA) Committee here.

Where were you born and raised and, if it was someplace else, when and why did you come to Loudoun?

I was born in Kuwait and raised mostly in India. I moved to the United States in 2001 and eventually moved into Loudoun in 2016. We moved here to be closer to my job location. Loudoun is a great place to raise a family, and that was another main reason to move to the area.

Tell us about your business/nonprofit, and how long you’ve been in your industry.

Dulles South Soup Kitchen was established in Nov 2020 to serve hot and nutritious meals to residents of Loudoun County in a dignified manner. The nonprofit and food industry are both new to me. I primarily work in IT within the FinTech and BioTech industries

How did you get into this line of work?

When we moved to Loudoun, I was looking for a soup kitchen to volunteer at. Serving hot food to those in need has always been a passion of mine. However, there were no soup kitchens in the county. I did not believe that there was no hunger in the community, even though we are the richest county. At that point, I decided that someone needed to step up and provide a platform to everyone so that we can all come together to serve the community. And that is how I founded the Dulles South Soup Kitchen.

Have you had any special mentors or inspirations that guided your career?

Yes! It takes a village! My most special mentor is Meg Phillips – When I was thinking of starting the soup kitchen, I had reached out to Meg as she is the Executive Director of the Dulles South Food Pantry. She was instrumental in guiding me and giving me the information that I needed to get the soup kitchen off the ground. In addition, I have had tremendous support from the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors led by Chair Radall and especially my district supervisor Matt Letourneau and his office. Pamela Ray of 100WomenStrong, Nicole Acosta with The Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier counties and Erika Huddleston with Loudoun Hunger Relief have mentored me through my journey and continue to do so. I am grateful for Pastor Garrett Wolf of the King of Kings Lutheran Church who helps me spiritually. Personally, my family and friends constantly support me and are my driving force.

What is the best part of your job and why?

Serving those in need is the most fulfilling part of my role at the Dulles South Soup Kitchen. The joy on their faces, their stories and their blessings – makes everything so worthwhile. To realize that the mission of your organization is so meaningful on a daily basis, and to help instill the power and mindset of giving back in the youth is the absolute best part of this role!

What is it like doing business in Loudoun?

Loudoun has the most supportive business community. The Chamber of Commerce is very active in getting the business community together. The breakfast networking events are particularly helpful. As mentioned above, the Loudoun Board of Supervisors are also very supportive. The entire business community has been very inclusive and welcoming; and rally behind the programs. We have the most giving community.

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

Women’s History Month is a time to celebrate and recognize the contributions and achievements of women throughout history and in contemporary society. The month provides an occasion to honor all the women worldwide who have worked tirelessly to promote gender equality and women’s rights, and to highlight the ongoing fight for gender equality and the empowerment of women. For me, it is a time to honor the countless women in my life who have empowered me and been my role models.

Favorite things to do when you are not working?

My children are the joy of my life. When not working, hanging out with them is what I love doing. I enjoy reading as well.

Check out Dulles South Soup Kitchen’s website here.