11-year-old expands her charity granting wishes to nursing home residents

11-year-old's charity grants wishes

Harrison, Arkansas — At a nursing home in northwest, Arkansas, CBS News found a gem named Ruby. As we first reported in March, 11-year-old Ruby Chitsey likes to go to work with her mom.

Amanda is a nurse who travels to several nursing homes in the area. It was on one of those visits, that Ruby started going up to residents with her notepad, asking "if you could have any three things, what would they be?" Ruby says she was mostly just curious what they'd say.

"I was very surprised. I thought people would say money, houses, a Lamborghini," she said.

But instead, here's what she got: Electric razor, new shoes, Vienna sausage, for some reason a lot of people asked for Vienna sausage and other really basic items.

"Like, that's all they wanted. And I really decided that I needed to do something," Ruby said.

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Ruby Chitsey CBS News

So she started a charity called, Three Wishes for Ruby's Residents. Now, while her mom is caring for patients, Ruby goes room-to-room, jots down wishes and then sets out to grant those wishes.

Ruby has a GoFundMe to cover costs, but again, no one is asking for a sports car here. Her expenses are minimal, especially compared to the rewards.

"It really lifts you, it really does," she said.

On one day, she came back with a wheelchair full of sausages and other grocery items. But make no mistake, this isn't about food. Whether she knows it or not, Ruby is satisfying some much more basic human needs here,  to be remembered, to be cherished, especially by a child, that is what our seniors are truly hungry for. That is what Ruby brings every time she sets foot in a nursing home.

Now, it's not just her. Since we first told this story, Ruby has helped start chapters of her charity in other states. She speaks to advocates for the aging. Of course, she is still very much hands on, proving no one needs a Lamborghini when they've got home delivery of all the happy they can handle.


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  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.