Hospital cafeteria worker brightens lives of ill children

Hospital cafeteria worker brightens lives of ill children

Yesterday afternoon, Jessie Tendayi, an Advocate Trinity Hospital cafeteria worker, turned a waiting room at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. into a real-life toy store.

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people standingYoung hospitalized patients came to the room, which was filled with toys from wall to wall, and had the opportunity to choose a few gifts for themselves.

Jessie has been making an annual toy donation to Advocate Children’s Hospital since 2009, when she first donated 100 toys. Each year, she saved money from every paycheck and worked extra shifts to fund her mission of bringing a touch of happiness and Christmas spirit to the lives of sick children.

This year, Jessie spent $5,000 of her own and bought more than 3,000 toys, which had to be transported from her home to the hospital in a large box truck.

Jessie’s kindness and generosity have brought hundreds of smiles to sick children and their families over the years.

See more photos from the wonderful day here.

Related Posts



  1. Adrienne Szulczynski December 20, 2017 at 1:17 pm · Reply

    Heard the segment on WGN Radio Steve Cochrane Show this morning as I drove to work. Very proud of this young lady! God bless her and her helpers. Did they ever find the logistics to get toys to Puerto Rico?

  2. What a generous outpouring of devotion, spirit, & kindness! Saving & planning for this for months and to then see the children’s delight, it makes Christmas live beyond its single day or season.Christmas shines bright throughout the year.

  3. This made me cry she is such a wonderful person with a big Heart..

  4. I was very moved seeing her on Channel 7 news last night. I understand that about half of the toys are left and she is planning to send them to Puerto Rico for the homeless children there. I was very proud of her to make such a donation for children out of her own salary. I am sure that Advocate is also proud of her. I wonder if it is possible to collect donations from Advocate associates to help her with the $5000 that she contributed? I work in the Advocate Employee Assistance Program as a counselor. I would be happy to begin the donation process !

Subscribe to health enews newsletter

About the Author

Julie Nakis
Julie Nakis

Julie Nakis, health enews contributor, is manager of public affairs at Advocate Children's Hospital. She earned her BA in communications from the University of Iowa – Go Hawkeyes! In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, exploring the city and cheering on the Chicago Cubs and Blackhawks.