Jessie Tendayi was hired as a food service aide at a Chicago children’s hospital eight years ago and has quietly done her job every day since. On occasion, she’s picked up overtime hours but has never said much to anyone during the time she’s been there. So, nobody had a clue what she was up to until her boss walked in on what she had hidden in a backroom.
According to the Chicago Tribune, in 2009, Jessie began using a portion of her paycheck to quietly contribute a very specific gift to the sick kids. She began by buying 100 gifts at Christmas time to give to the kids where she worked, who had to spend the holidays in a hospital room. However, since then, she increased that goal to an incredible level, quietly collecting overtime hours to pay for an impressive act of generosity with her own money.
For the past eight years, Jessie Tendayi, has worked additional shifts and saved money to fund her mission. ‘It brings joy to me, and also brings joy to the children, that I’m making a difference’, Tendayi told WGN.
She hand-picks the toys, as many as 1,000 each Christmas. This year Tendayi said she spent $5,000 on 1,000 toys for sick children at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, CNN reported.
“It’s amazing that someone’s giving their time and effort to make sure children in the hospital have a great Christmas too,” one of the recipients of Jessie’s generosity told WGN. Another mother said that her son never leaves his hospital room, but because of this kindhearted employee, he has something to play with to pass the time in the sterile room.
Tendayi said her goal is to donate toys to sick children in hospitals year-round. ‘It’s a very good day for me. I’m happy, I’m happy to do this,’ she told the Chicago Tribune. ‘When God puts this in your heart, you don’t get tired. You love what you’re doing. I love helping other people’.
Tendayi has started a charity named Love for Children to help fund her initiative in future years.