Spending time in the hospital during the holidays can be tough, especially for children. One man, all too familiar with that life, is giving back to make their holidays brighter.

Born at just 1lb. 13 oz., Angel Quintanilla suffers from cerebral palsy, spending many nights in the hospital.

“Us being in and out of the hospital for a long time. We know how it is and how hard it is to be so many days or months in the hospital,” said Martha Quintanilla, Angel’s mother.

At the age of 8, he had a life-changing experience. During one of his stays at the hospital during the holidays, he received a Christmas gift from a basketball team that stopped by. From then on, he knew he wanted to return the favor.

“Something so simple as an act of kindness or a bright attitude can really change how your life goes,” Angel said. 

In 2005, he launched Angel Quintanilla’s Foundation. Through that, he hosts an annual toy drive during the holidays and donates the toys collected to children in hospitals around the Valley.

He started with just 40 toys. Now, he donates more than 1,000 toys to children.

Even making and selling jewelry to support himself, he donates to non-profits like Make-A-Wish and purchases gifts for his own toy drive. 

“I always try to tell people, it doesn’t cost you anything. Kindness is free. Love is free,” said Angel. “Sometimes life is hard. I want to make it a little less difficult, a little brighter, especially during the holidays.”

If you would like more information on Angel’s toy drive or would like to donate, you can contact him at (956) 578-5170 or (956) 821-4169. 

If you have someone you would like to highlight for their acts of kindness in our ‘Hometown Heroes’ segment, email Nicole Hickl at nhickl@sbgtv.com or contact her through Facebook.