9-year-old raises money for first responders through book of poem sales

Elementary school child uses $400 raised to buy snacks for frontline workers

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Photo LLUH: 9-year-old poet donates snacks to the Loma Linda University Health emergency department. He bought the snacks with funds raised from selling his poetry book.
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Matthew Rushing, 9, from Moreno Valley, delivered dozens of boxes of snacks to Loma Linda University Medical Center Emergency Department staff on May 18, aiming to lift their spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Rushing raised more than $400 since May 1 by selling his book of poetry called “Poems for Hard Times.” He said he wanted to donate to Emergency Department workers at Loma Linda University Medical Center because his pediatrician works at Loma Linda University Health.

“It makes me sad to know people are dying because of COVID-19, and I wanted to find a way to thank all of the heroes working to save lives,” Rushing said. “I brought them snacks in case they are working so hard that they are too busy to take a lunch break.”

His gift greatly encouraged the staff and brought a newfound sense of hope to the team, according to Loma Linda University Medical Center Emergency Department nurse Lesley O’Neill.

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“At only 9 years old, Matthew demonstrated compassion and kindness in such a creative and thoughtful way,” O’Neill said. “We cannot thank him enough for his kind contribution to our team. We should all strive to be just like him during these challenging times.”

Emergency Department clinical nurse specialist Megan Duke agreed that seeing all the boxes he dropped off energized her to keep moving forward.

“Matthew is the real hero,” Duke said. “During these crazy times, the fact that there is a child out there who is so thoughtful to not only think of others but who actually works to help those he doesn’t know gives me so much hope.”

In addition to his donations at Loma Linda University Medical Center, Rushing donated to two fire departments and one police station in Moreno Valley.

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