Inn Celebrates ‘Christmas in July’
On July 22, the Children’s Inn at NIH hosted Christmas in July. Santa’s motorcycle elves from the Montgomery County Police Department and the NIH Police showered children and young adults, their siblings, parents and caregivers with gifts.
“It was good, thousand times good!” Ujji, 8, from Mongolia said of the first live event held at the inn in months. To keep everyone safe, Santa and his elves wore masks and made sure to physically distance as much as possible.
After a brief stop at the Clinical Center to greet children and young people who are inpatients, Santa returned to the inn to welcome children and families to board buses decorated for the occasion. Escorted by flashing lights and blaring sirens, Santa and his elves guided their guests across the NIH campus, waving to staff they passed along the route.
Back at the inn, Santa and his elves presented gift bags to children, their siblings and family members. The presents, made possible by community members, included toys, insulated cups, Bluetooth speakers, snacks and blankets.
In addition to gifts, children and young adults enjoyed playing in machine-made snow in the July heat and eating a special pizza and salad dinner, followed by a cake to round out the event.
“We are very grateful to NIH and to the Montgomery County Police Department for playing motorcycle elves and bringing joy to our children time after time,” said Laura King, head of the inn’s volunteer and community outreach. “A special thanks to MCPD Officer Bobby Ladany, who has been our Santa for many, many years, and to the Women for the Inn, who donated meals and dessert. This is such a special, wonderful event for our children and families, especially during this difficult, uncertain time.”