Jessie Tendayi works as a food service aide at Trinity Hospital in Chicago. But working hard to serve food to children, doctors, nurses, and families in the hospital every day is not enough for her. Tendayi has no children of her own, but for the past eight years, she has picked up extra shifts and saved up her own money to buy toys for sick children.
In 2009 she bought 100 toys — a feat of its own. But still that wasn’t enough for Tendayi. Every year she has increased her donation, and this year she bought 1,000 toys for kids at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois. She saved up $5,000, and took Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday off from work to spend the days shopping for toys. She even rented a U-Haul van to transport the load of toys.
“It’s like I want to grab the whole store when I look at the toys,” Tendayi told Good Morning America. “I don’t have kids so I didn’t know [what kids would like] but now I know very well.”
“It brings joy to me, and also brings joy to the children, that I’m making a difference,” Tendayi told WGNTV.
Tendayi, who has worked at the hospital for 15 years, delivered all the toys to the hospital and piled them into a special room. Then, the children could go into the room filled to the brim with toys and take whatever they wanted. She also hand-delivered toys to the children who couldn’t leave their rooms.
It means so much to all of the children in the hospital, as well as their siblings and parents. “He doesn’t leave this room,” one mother told WGNTV about her son. “For him to have more toys to play with and keep him happy while we’re here is incredibly helpful, humbling, and amazing.”
While she was handing out the toys, Tendayi received a special gift of her own. Toys “R” Us gave her a $5,000 gift card, for her to buy more toys for children in need. Good Morning America also gave her a gift certificate for a local spa, so she can finally take some time to pamper herself.
The stories of heartwarming good deeds just keep coming this holiday season, and we can’t get enough.