TURNERSVILLE, N.J. (CBS) — Inspired by a family tragedy, a teenager in South Jersey is giving back this holiday season. On Monday, members of Emanuel’s Toy Drive delivered hundreds of gifts to patients at a local hospital.
Emanuel’s Elves were very busy at Jefferson Washington Township Hospital in Turnersville.READ MORE: WATCH LIVE: Philadelphia Health Department's Cheryl Bettigole To Give COVID-19 Update
For the eighth year, DJ Alexis and a group of his friends delivered toys to children in the hospital just before Christmas.
“It was very special and very nice of them to do that for my son because he wasn’t feeling very well,” one mother said.
Emanuel’s Toy Drive is held in memory of DJ’s newborn brother who died at the South Jersey hospital in 2006. His birthday was Dec. 21.
“In 2006 when my younger son passed away, DJ used to come to the hospital with us, he would bring toys because they wouldn’t allow toys in the waiting area and once Emanuel passed, he decided to leave the toys there,” said Lesli Alexis, DJ’s mother. “Then he wanted to continue to bring more toys.”READ MORE: WATCH LIVE: Eagles' Nick Sirianni To Speak With Media
DJ was just 9 years old at the time, but he’s made it his mission to make sure that kids in the hospital during the holidays get gifts.
“Every day you can go to sleep and know that you did something right,” DJ said. “Just having your friends there and doing something good is kind of like a dream come true.”
With more than 1,000 donated toys to deliver from donation boxes placed around the Tri-State area, there’s no time to waste.
Emanuel’s Elves aren’t leaving any child without a little something, including newborn baby Leona.MORE NEWS: 16-Year-Old Ahjaon Jackson Shot And Killed While Coming Home From Work, Philadelphia Police Say
The Alexis family has had donation boxes at businesses in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. They say they’re most grateful for the overwhelming response to the toy drive in each state.