Panda Cares - Center of Hope

Lauren Small Children's Center at Memorial Hospital Home to the New Panda Cares® Center of Hope

New outdoor healing space will offer art therapy, meditation, and therapeutic play for pediatric patients and their families   

BAKERSFIELD, CA (AUGUST 8, 2023) – The Lauren Small Children’s Center (LSCC) at Dignity Health - Memorial Hospital is proud to announce the dedication of the Panda Cares® Center of Hope, made possible by Panda Express® associates and guests, whose generosity help change kids’ health, change the future. 

Panda Express is committed to donating $1 million in the next 10 years in support of pediatric services at Memorial Hospital's Lauren Small Children’s Center. This gift is  made possible by Panda Express guests and associates that give generously to help change kids’ health, to help change the future in support of kids getting back to being kids.  In appreciation of this generous gift, Memorial has designated an area in the Helen Taylor Cobbs Healing Garden as the Panda Cares Center of Hope. This beautiful area contributes to the mental, physical, emotional and overall wellbeing of our young patients, offering a sanctuary away from the hospital room and a needed break during treatment, where nature and fresh air can help support the healing. Programs offered at the LSCC Panda Cares Center of Hope include therapeutic play, art therapy, meditation, designed to give children the courage and strength to thrive.

“We are extremely grateful to Panda Express for this significant gift. This donation will support vital pediatric services at The Lauren Small Children’s Center. Our mission to create a comprehensive health care program for Kern County kids is realized through these gifts. Today, LSCC is home to a state-of-the-art Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the area’s only Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, The Robert A. Grimm Children’s Pavilion for Emergency Services, and the S.A. Camp Companies Burn Unit,” said Ken Keller, President and CEO at Memorial  Hospital. “We’re excited to introduce our youngest patients to this new area of creativity and healing, and I’m honored that Memorial is home to the newest Panda Cares Center of Hope.”

“We are proud to partner with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to bring the vision of the Panda Cares® Center of Hope to life and are humbled to be part of the healing journey for the families and kids at these hospitals,” said Dr. Peggy Cherng, co-founder and co-CEO of Panda Restaurant Group. “Children are our future, and through this partnership and curriculum designed to give children the strength to thrive, we will bring smiles and hope to communities nationwide.” 

Panda Cares® Centers of Hope across the country are made possible by donations from Panda Express® associates and guests. Funds raised in-store and online at Panda Express benefit each store’s local community. Following a multimillion-dollar commitment to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to fund Panda Cares® Centers of Hope, Panda and CMN Hospitals have debuted Center of Hope locations at several hospitals in the U.S. from California and Texas to Hawaii and Washington D.C. 

Since 2007, Panda Express and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals have partnered together to change kids’ health, change the future. To date, Panda has raised more than $120M for hospitals affiliated with CMN Hospitals, including Memorial Hospital. Panda Express guests and their associates in Kern County have raised nearly $1.4 million for Memorial’s Lauren Small Children’s Center since 2007. 


About Dignity Health - Memorial 
Bakersfield Memorial Hospital is a 426 bed acute care medical center offering a full range of services including the Sarvanand Heart and Brain Center, Grossman Burn Center at Memorial Hospital, expanded maternity and family care, the Lauren Small Children’s Center, orthopedic services, wound care center, 24-hour emergency care and general/outpatient surgery. Memorial Hospital is a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital and is home to the Bakersfield Ronald McDonald House. Memorial Hospital is a member of Dignity Health and is a trusted community partner, serving residents of Bakersfield and Kern County with quality, compassionate care since 1956. Learn more at

About Panda Express 
On a mission to inspire better lives, Panda Express® is the largest Asian dining concept in the U.S. Family-owned and operated since 1983 by Co-Founders and Co-CEOs Andrew and Peggy Cherng, Panda Express is best known as a trailblazer for creating a wide variety of industry-first recipes, including its best seller The Original Orange Chicken® and award-winning Honey Walnut Shrimp, which have defined the category of authentic American Chinese cuisine. Each dish at Panda Express is thoughtfully crafted with quality ingredients and inspired by bold Chinese flavors and culinary principles. The restaurant brand has more than 2,400 locations and has introduced American Chinese cuisine to 12 international countries. 

Powered by this global family of associates, Panda Cares®, Panda's philanthropic arm, has raised more than $282 million and dedicated countless volunteer hours in bettering the health and education for over 13 million youths, as well as supporting communities in need since 1999. In 2021, Panda Express established the Panda CommUnity Fund — a five-year, $10 million community investment and response program that supports immediate and sustainable solutions from national and local organizations to uplift diverse groups, including people of color and other marginalized communities. For more information about Panda, visit, or find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

About Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals 
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® raises funds for 170 children’s hospitals that support the health of 10 million kids each year across the U.S. and Canada. Donations go to local hospitals to fund critical life-saving treatments and healthcare services, along with innovative research, vital pediatric medical equipment, child life services that put kids’ and families’ minds at ease during difficult hospital stays and financial assistance for families who could not otherwise afford these health services. When we improve the health of all children and allow them the opportunity to reach their full potential, we also improve our communities for years to come. Together, we can change kids’ health. Together, we can change the future. To learn about Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and your local children’s hospital, visit