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Woman Works Overtime To Buy Gifts For Sick Kids

In the "season of giving" many work overtime to buy gifts for their loved ones. But one woman has taken the spirit of giving truly to heart, choosing to work extra hours not just this year, but every year since 2009. What's more, she doesn't do it to buy gifts for family and friends, but for sick children.

"It brings joy to me, and also brings joy to the children, that I'm making a difference," hospital food service worker Jessie Tendayi told the Chicago Tribune.

"Why do I do it? God put it in my heart," she says. "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."

Since 2009, Tendayi, who moved from Zimbabwe in the late 1990s, has given hundreds of toys to sick children during the holiday season.

For the 2016 season, she spent $4,500 buying more than 1,000 toys for kids at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois.

That's a lot of money for somebody who doesn't earn much, but Tendayi says she doesn't care.

"It's not about money," she said. "The little we have, we can share. For me, it's a blessing. I'm able to make a difference for the children."

She certainly has made a difference. Her gifts have brought happiness to the children in more than one way.

"He doesn't leave this room," the mother of one boy at the hospital said. "For him to have more toys to play with and keep him happy while we're here is incredibly helpful, humbling and amazing."

But Tendayi doesn't end her generosity after the holidays. Instead, she is planning to raise money to buy gifts year-round for the children through her charity, Love For Children, in the next few years. 

"It's a very good day for me," she said. "I'm happy, I'm happy to do this. When God puts this in your heart, you don't get tired. You love what you're doing. I love helping other people."

Sources: Daily Mail, Chicago Tribune / Photo credit: Advocates For Children/Twitter via Daily Mail 

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