Ozarks Life: Valley Springs girl makes Valentine’s Day special for seniors

Three Wishes for Ruby’s Residents continues on despite COVID
Published: Feb. 12, 2021 at 10:48 AM CST
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - Love is in the air this weekend with Valentine’s Day coming up. For one area teen, her heart is devoted to helping others.

On the square in Harrison, at the corner of Stephenson and Main, sits a workshop.

Santa Claus has his elves and Cupid has Ruby Chitsey.

We first met Ruby two years ago when at the age of 11 she created Three Wishes for Ruby’s Residents. If seniors wanted chocolate, sausage, or fruit, Ruby would get. At first it was out of her pocket and then later a Go Fund Me account helped out.

Her Operation Happy Meal was a success. It would give a free lunch to everyone at a local senior living center.

Two years later, her heart still is focused on seniors. With Valentine’s Day approaching, she knows love is something needed right now.

“I think it’s more important because COVID has caused a lot of loneliness” Ruby said, “and I love Valentines Day.”

And so Ruby, now 13, is not alone in her mission.

“When I was young I was taught to give,” Three Wishes for Ruby’s Residents vice president Leo Gaeta said.

Ruby’s charity has almost two dozen members, complete with a board of young teenagers. Right now they’re making sure Valentines Day is sweet for the seniors.

“We fill these up these smile sacks with candy that (essential workers) can hand out to seniors on Valentines Day,” Ruby said.

Oh and this is not a one and done for Three Wishes. These young volunteers are busy with projects and presents all year long.

“There’s not many kids who do stuff like we do,” president Oliver Chitsey said.

They’ve started an adopt-a-senior program where folks can write letters to nursing home residents. There’s Resident’s Wishes in their front window for passersby to see and donate. They’ve also built a library for seniors to get new, unique-books to pass the time. And they’ve even created a Wishes for Whiskers program uniting shelter cats with nursing homes.

“I love to show love to everyone,” secretary Sawyer Hartman said.

“These kids are so good about helping out,” volunteer Imogene Ellis said, “It’s so sad they cant take them themselves to the nursing home.”

That’s what’s missing thanks to COVID, the warm hugs. But that’s not why this group does it.

“It’s what keeps me happy,” Ruby said.

Maybe some adults should search their hearts for compassion like these kids.

“I can’t wait until we can do more,” Oliver said.

“Maybe that’ll go farther in life,” Leo said, “but I don’t have a time machine so I cant tell you.”

Essential workers are taking roughly 500 Valentines gifts out to the residents this weekend in and around Harrison.

Click here for more information on Three Wishes for Ruby’s Residents.

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