Children staying at The Inn received a very special surprise last week: a summertime shopping spree with Santa Claus and a dozen motorcycle officer elves from the Montgomery County Police Department and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
After greetings and photos with St. Nick, 33 children and their families boarded two buses decorated on the inside with red and silver snowflakes destined for Target in nearby Gaithersburg. Santa and his motor elves then escorted the buses with sirens blaring through Bethesda rush hour traffic.
Luna’s family poses with Santa and Officer Carter of the Montgomery County Police Department
At the store, children paired up with police officers to get help shopping for toys using donated $50 gift cards. Children and cops dashed through the aisles to find the perfect dolls, clothes, collectible cars, board games, costumes and more.
Among them was Luna Beltran Plata, 4, who is receiving treatment at the NIH, her sister, Dania, 7, and their parents who enjoyed the chance to celebrate a special summertime Christmas during their extended stay at The Inn.
“It was awesome,” Luna’s mom, Yury Plata Martinez of Mexico, said of the special shopping event when interviewed by Fox 5’s Gary McGrady. “We feel like super stars, like rock stars.”
Yury is interviewed by Fox 5’s Gary McGrady
An hour into shopping, Santa and his motorcycle officers escorted the children to a local pizza buffet for dinner.
“This was the third annual Children’s Inn’s Christmas in July, and our children and families had such a great time,” said Stephanie Feinberg, The Inn’s family program assistant. “Santa and the officers make this event absolutely unique, and we’re grateful to our donors, the Montgomery County Police Department and the NIH police officers for giving our families the VIP treatment.”
Houssam and his mother pose with the present they picked out with a Montgomery County Police officer
See more fun photos from the event here.