Hospital cafeteria server works extra for 10 years to buy gifts for sick kids

CHICAGO — Jessie Tendayi spends her days serving food in a hospital cafeteria, but this week, she takes on a different role as a Christmas angel to dozens of sick children.

Touched by the families stuck in hospital wards over the holidays, Tendayi decided 10 years ago that she would set aside a chunk of every paycheck to buy toys for the children next December. Since then, she has gifted Christmas toys to thousands of children.

"It's unbelievable. She buys thousands and thousands of dollars' worth of toys just to brighten these kids holidays. She is just an amazing human being," said Melissa Cavanaugh, Advocate Children's Hospital.

This year was no different; her toy donations fill two full rooms at Advocate Children's Hospital. To pay for it all, Tendayi picks up extra shifts in Advocate Trinity Hospital's cafeteria throughout the year.

"You have to make sacrifices if you want to give," Tendayi said. "I made a choice to put them first over me, and it's worth it. It makes a difference to people that somebody cares."

 

Tendayi embraces the mother of a patient at Advocate Children's Hospital

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