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Woman Provides Holiday Spirit

Buys Presents for Children at Christmas at Advocate Hope

For the past 11 years, Jessie Tendayi has been a cafeteria worker at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago.

For the past three years, she has been buying toys with her own money for children in the pediatric unit at Trinity Hospital. {{more}}

In 2010, Tendayi’s generosity was extended to include Hope Children’s Hospital (now renamed Advocate Children’s Hospital), 4440 W. 95th St., Oak Lawn.

According to Julie Nakis, Advocate Public Affairs and Marketing Coordinator, Tendayi brought 300 toys to be distributed on Monday.

Extra toys were left at the hospital to be given to children throughout the year. Some toys will be placed in the children’s play area for siblings of hospitalized children to enjoy.

Tendayi, a native of Zimbabwe, has lived in the United States for the past 18 years. She has no children of her own and when asked why she does this, she said, ÒThe children. I saw a need and I wanted to help.”

According to Tendayi, she begins shopping for toys the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and continues up to the week before Christmas. Tendayi says her car is small so she makes several trips a day bringing packages back to her home and then continues her gift shopping.

All of the shopping and gift distribution is accomplished using her vacation time from work. She takes her vacation the week of Thanksgiving and the week before Christmas.

Tendayi’s wish for the new year is to somehow get a larger vehicle to make shopping and transporting the gifts easier.

ÒI’m praying one day God will give me a bigger car. Anything that runs will do,” she said.

On this day, Advocate sent a van to her home to transport the gifts to the hospital.

Tendayi selected and handed out the gifts to each child in the hospital and told each one ÒI love you.”

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