Kenny Rogers always goes out of his way to spread Christmas cheer, but this year he's outdoing himself. The veteran entertainer has performed his Christmas & Hits show every holiday season for the past 31 years, but in 2012 he's also joined with fans and corporate sponsors to help families in New Jersey and Connecticut who have been hit by the recent tragedies that have rocked the nation.

Rogers performed at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in New Jersey on Wednesday night (Dec. 19), and he partnered with a toy company and local officials for a toy drive in the hope of making Christmas brighter for kids affected by Hurricane Sandy. "I start with a cash donation, then ask the audience to try and match it with toy donations. Fisher Price is donating 200 toys as well," Rogers tells radio station Big Frog 104 in Utica, NY. "I’ll take the cash raised and buy more toys, which should get us around 1000 toys this year."

The legendary singer, whose hits include 'The Gambler,' 'Lucille,' 'Islands in the Stream' and 'Buy Me a Rose,' is also raising money for kids in Connecticut with his performance on Friday (Dec. 21). "I sit here and watch the news all day on my bus and I realize what a terrible thing happened in Connecticut and I want to help," the 74-year-old singer states. "I’m glad to be a part of it and I’m excited about being able to hep the community, because I think it's a community that really needs healing. Sometimes it has to heal from within. There’s been a lot going on with the floods and hurricanes, then this on top of everything else."

Along with the rest of the grieving nation, Rogers says the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary have made him even more aware of how precious his own family is.

"You really have to stop every now and then and take stock of how lucky you are," he reflects. "My boys are in the second grade and you just think, if that were me how would I respond, and I don’t honestly know. I think that’s more than any of us could deal with on an if basis."