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Cafeteria Worker Saves Up Money to Buy Christmas Gifts for Sick Children

Cafeteria worker Christmas

Some people care about others because it’s inside of them to do so. When you provide a service for someone and they don’t look for anything in return, that is the mark of a true angel.

Jessie Tendayi is a cafeteria worker at a children’s hospital who saves money year-round so she can buy toys for hospitalized children at Christmas time. Nobody asked her to do it, or knew she was doing it out of her own money.

Tendayi wants to see the children happy with smiles on their faces around Christmas, and it brings her joy to do this for those kids.

Cafeteria worker Christmas

Cafeteria worker Christmas

From Chicago Tribune:

Walking through a recreation room at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn that looked more like a toy store, Chasity’s eyes grew wide in wonder.

Hundreds of toys in colorful boxes and neatly stacked around the room overwhelmed the 7-year-old girl from Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood.

“There’s too many toys. I can’t decide,” Chasity said as her mother, Alice Robinson, watched with a smile as the girl in a hospital gown tried to pick a toy.

Chasity, who was there for medical tests after suffering a seizure according to her mother, was one of the many children at the hospital given a chance to choose their own special Christmas present thanks to the generosity of Jessie Tendayi. The humble cafeteria worker saves money year-round so she can buy toys for hospitalized children at Christmastime.

This year, Tendayi spent about $4,500 of her own money to buy about 1,300 toys from Family Dollar and Walgreens stores.

“I have to do what I have to do to make the children happy,” Tendayi, 54, said.

She did all the shopping, too. And on Monday, she visited Advocate Children’s Hospital and Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.

That first year, 2009, she started small. Each year since, she’s increased how much she has spent and the number of toys she’s given away.

She and her husband, Wendell, moved to Chicago 19 years ago from their native Zimbabwe. They live on Chicago’s Southeast Side, and have no children of their own.

She has a savings plan where she salts away money every paycheck to pay for her year-end shopping spree.

Tendayi has worked for 18 years in the cafeteria at Advocate Trinity Hospital, 2320 E. 93rd St., Chicago, where she serves food in the cafeteria. It’s not a job where one gets wealthy.

You hope that when parents see the generosity of strangers, they teach their kids the fulfillment of giving.  Tendayi did a remarkable job and has been doing it for years. I hope that she gets the recognition she deserves.

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