This is the story of Ruby Kate, an 11 year old raising money to help thousands of nursing home patients who are low on family and low on funds.
The government funds over half of our nursing home patients in the US . These patients are allotted $40 cash/month for "extras" - anything not covered under room and board. A haircut is “extra.” Taking care of your dog is "extra." If they don’t have family that can cover the gaps, they go without. Ruby Kate is here to tell you that these things are not “extra”. She says, “these extras are the things that make life sweeter.”
Ruby Kate’s project was sparked by a lady named Pearl.
Ruby Kate explains, "One day as my mom and I were leaving the nursing home, a patient named Pearl was glued to the exit doors staring for a long time at something. I figured whatever it was must be pretty exciting because I hadn’t seen anything exciting all day. So I hurried to catch up to her before whatever this was disappeared. I thought maybe it was a baby bird? A wreck in the parking lot? Ambulance?
I get up there and there is a normal dog being led out on a leash to a car by a normal lady. That was it! Boring. I asked her what was going on and she said that was her dog of 12ish years. The dog had come to visit for the day and she was staring at the door because she didn’t know the next time she would see her dog again.
Pearl’s face was so sad. I thought of all the things in this world Pearl could have, she would probably just ask for more visits with her dog. I know it costs $12 for a pet sitter/visit. I’m eleven and I have enough money saved in my piggy bank to get Pearl a few visits with her dog."
This moment led to my project of “Three Wishes” and I started to raise money help these patients get more “extras” than their $40 dollars can buy.
This summer I took a notebook with me to the nursing homes and I asked the residents “if I could bring you 3 things in the whole world, what would those be?” (It’s a lot different than asking kids my age that question because the answers I get are things the rest of us already have loads of.) The first patient just looked at me and said “I want some pants that fit.” I saw then that his pants were really tight around his big belly. He totally needed pants.
The next lady was always needing to use the phone at the nursing station to call her loved one. She would sit there in public, often crying, having a private phone call in front of all the staff on the facility phone about her life. All she wanted from me was her own phone. She didn’t even ask for 2 other things. Another lady wanted a warmer blanket for her bed, some wanted pet food (so many want pet food and services) and McDonald’s French fries, new shoes and even Cheetos.
So many women had what my mom calls “correctable” hearing problems but couldn’t afford a hearing device to help them hear visitors, family, the TV. A lady in a wheelchair said she’d do anything to be taken to “Whitewater” water park for a day to watch the kids play.
I have a notebook filled with their wishes. I hope you will help me make them come true”
Ways to help:
- Make a donation- 5$ is fantastic! Everything helps. 5$ buys a lot of pet food
- Ruby Kate has a wish list on Amazon.com- Three Wishes for Ruby’s Residents
You can send donation items found on Ruby Kate's Amazon wish list here:
Ruby Kate/Ozark Geriatrics
PO Box 1546
Harrison, AR 72602
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