8-Year-Old Collects 1,000 Toys For Kids Affected By Hurricane Maria

As Puerto Rico struggles to rebuild following Hurricane Maria, a little New Jersey boy is on a mission to spread some Christmas cheer to the island.

Move over, Santa; a new sheriff's in town. 

A young New Jersey boy is learning the value of giving very early with his quest to collect toys for children of Puerto Rico, which is still in grave conditions in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Jayden Perez, 8, held a toy drive at his home where he accumulated more than 1,000 donated toys for kids whose Christmases would otherwise be bleak.

Perez’s mother, Ana Rosado, told ABC News that back in September, her boss gave her son tickets to a New York Giants game for no particular reason or special occasion. Perez, who is a big fan of the NFL team, broke down in tears upon receiving the gift, which Rosado captured on video.

Around the same time, Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, and their family sprang into action to collect donations and ship them out to victims of the storm. These two events are what led to Perez’s idea to donate toys. He wanted to bring that same feeling of joy that he got from receiving the Giants tickets to other children.

"He said, 'Mom, I'm concerned kids aren't going to get toys,'" Rosado recounted. "That really touched me."

Initially, the third-grader wanted to donate his own Christmas gifts, but Rosado encouraged him to take it further with a toy drive.

After Rosado posted about the event on social media, word spread like wildfire. While the 1,000 toys they’ve already garnered is a success, they are still expecting more donations to roll in, including a trailer full of toys from Pennsylvania.

"I'm so overwhelmed," Rosado said. "I'm so proud of my son. ... I didn't expect so many toys."

The mother-son duo is even planning to visit the island in January to bring toys to an orphanage and visit several small cities that were rocked the hardest by Maria.

"He has such a great heart," Rosado said of Perez. "I know that my son is doing good out there."

It is truly telling that a child is displaying more compassion, empathy, and humanity for these displaced people than the President of the United States.

Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters, Shannon Stapleton

View Comments

Recommended For You