A food service aide at a Chicago-area children’s hospital quietly saved up for an incredible surprise for the children at the hospital.

Jessie Tendayi, 54, a cafeteria worker at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, saves her money every year to do something special for the children at the hospital around Christmas time. This year, what she did blew the rest of the hospital staff away.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Tendayi saved up all year and spent nearly $5,000 of her own money on around 1,300 toys. She even shopped for all the toys herself.

“I have to do what I have to do to make the children happy,” Tendayi told the Chicago Tribune.


On Dec. 12, Tendayi delivered toys to both Advocate Children’s Hospital and Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. Children were able to walk through the incredible offering  from Tendayi and choose their own toys.

According to Mad World News, Tendayi began buying toys for children at the hospital in 2009. That year, she bought 100 gifts for children spending Christmas in the hospital. Every year since, she’s tried to increase that number, leading to an astonishing 1,300 this year.

“Why do I do it? God put it in my heart,” Tendayi said. “One day I was watching TV and I saw children in need. I asked myself, ‘What should I do for them to calm down what they are going through?’ So I started saving my money to make sure the children had something to play with while they are sick, so they can forget their pain.”

Read more about this inspiring woman at America Now.