Two elementary school students give meals and care packages to first responders in Long Beach

Nellie de la Cruz and Arlene Ramirez donated 80 care packages to nurses at Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach.

A former patient of Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center, 10-year-old Nellie de la Cruz, and her friend Arlene Ramirez have raised hundreds of dollars to buy meals for first responders such as health care workers and police officers.

“We’re just two girls trying to make a difference in our community,” de la Cruz said, “even though we are young, we want to show other kids that we can help too.”

De la Cruz was a regular patient at Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center between the ages of 6 months old and 6 years old due to reoccurring kidney conditions.

“The generosity of our community throughout the pandemic has been overwhelming,” Carolyn Caldwell, St. Mary Hospital President, said. “But to have a young girl who has been through so much, return to express her gratitude to our caregivers, just really fills your soul with hope that the future is bright.”

Besides meals, de la Cruz also gave care packages to 80 St. Mary Medical Center nurses in the perinatal, labor and delivery, NICU, post-partum, and pediatric wards, which included bracelets and thank you notes.

“What I remember most is how nice the nurses, doctors, and the Sisters were to Nellie and our family,” Nellie Lopez, mother of Nellie de la Cruz, said. “To see Nellie spreading kindness to others is really special, and I know part of it is because of the kindness she experienced at the hospital.”


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