As the island continues to recover from a devastating hurricane season, buying Christmas presents may not be a priority for the people of Puerto Rico this year. Luckily, there’s an 8-year old in New Jersey doing his best to make sure Puerto Rican children have toys to open on Christmas morning.
After Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, Jayden Perez and his mother, Ana Rosado, of Woodland Park, New Jersey volunteered to help send supplies to those on the island. They collected donations and helped to pack and ship more than 40 boxes to Puerto Rico.
But that wasn’t enough for 8-year old Jayden. After Rosado’s boss surprised him with VIP tickets to a New York Giants game, Jayden was inspired to continue to perform good deeds to help others.
At first, Jayden wanted to give all of his own Christmas presents to the children of Puerto Rico. But Rosado had an even better idea: a toy drive.
“He said, ‘Mom, I’m concerned kids aren’t going to get toys,'” recalls Rosado. “That really touched me.”
On December 3, Rosado and Jayden hosted a toy drive at their home. The event was a success, and more than a week later, the toys still haven’t stopped coming. To date, the mother and son tandem have collected over 1,000 toys. Rosado also set up a GoFundMe page that has already eclipsed its goal of $5,000.
“I’m so overwhelmed,” Rosado says of the volume of toys they’ve collected.
Rosado had already arranged for a couple of friends to travel to Puerto Rico to help distribute the toys. However, she and Jayden will now be flying down there themselves in January.
Some of the toys will go to an orphanage that has been in contact with Rosado. She and Jayden will also travel to some of the island’s smaller cities to share what they’ve collected with those impacted by Hurricane Maria.
“I’m just so proud of my son,” says Rosado. “He has such a humble heart.”