He may the lack white beard and fleet of reindeer, but one third-grader has found an amazing way to deliver toys to hundreds of Puerto Rican children affected by Hurricane Maria.
When Jayden Perez, 8, learned that kids in Puerto Rico wouldn’t be getting presents this Christmas because of Hurricane Maria, he told his mother Ana Rosado that he wanted to donate his own Christmas gifts to the children in need. Moved by her son’s compassion, Rosado, who lives in New Jersey with Jayden, suggested they start a toy drive instead.
Rosado then posted a video of Jayden holding a handmade cardboard sign and asking friends and family members to donate toys.
“Kids lost a lot of their toys, and now they don’t have any,” Jayden said in the video. “So can you donate one toy, from the bottom of my heart and the bottom of your heart?”
About 700,000 children live in Puerto Rico and many were affected by Hurricane Maria, which devastated water and sanitation systems, knocked out electricity and displaced families throughout the island. The federal government has identified 64 people who died as a result of the hurricane, but a recent investigation by The New York Times attributed 1,052 deaths to the storm.
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The family plans to hand-deliver the gifts to children throughout the island when they visit for Three King’s Day, a major celebration and time of gift-giving in Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries.
They will be bringing way more presents than they expected.
“I just thought it was going to be something small, we’d collect maybe 50 to 100 toys, Rosado told HuffPost. “[But] no, my god, this has gone beyond.”