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Hospital worker spends own money to buy 1,000 toys for sick kids

CHICAGO — One hospital worker has been using money from her own paycheck to make sure sick children have an extra-special Christmas.

For the past eight years, Jessie Tendayi, a food service aide at Trinity Hospital in Chicago, has been picking up extra shifts and saving cash for toys.

“It brings joy to me, and also brings joy to the children, that I’m making a difference,” Tendayi told CNN affiliate WGN.

She began in 2009 by giving 100 toys, but her output has since multiplied tenfold.

This year, she spent $5,000 on 1,000 toys for sick children at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, a Chicago suburb.

“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 kids told WGN.

One mother appreciated all the help her son could get.

“He doesn’t leave this room,” she said. “For him to have more toys to play with and keep him happy while we’re here is incredibly helpful, humbling and amazing.”

Tendayi said her dream is to give presents year-round, helping sick kids in hospitals 365 days a year.