FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sonja Luecke, communications manger, The Children’s Inn at NIH
c: 901-340-1975 [email protected]
Mysba Regis, marketing and communications director, The Children’s Inn at NIH
c: 240-274-2101 [email protected]
The Children’s Inn at NIH Suspends Volunteers, Work-related Travel and Implements Telework to Keep Children, Young Adults Safe
BETHESDA, Md. (March 18, 2020) – The Children’s Inn at NIH, a nonprofit located on the NIH campus that provides free lodging and support to vulnerable children and young adults with rare and serious diseases participating in clinical research studies at NIH, is asking for the community’s support as it is implementing safety measures that are disrupting the way the organization serves families during the growing COVID-19 outbreak.
Starting March 10, The Children’s Inn suspended all volunteer activities, limited visitors and began screening all guests entering the facility. Business-related staff travel also was suspended, and outside staff trainings, canceled. All employees in administrative roles have been asked to telework as much as possible. In addition, children, their families and young adults up to age 30 staying at The Inn are encouraged not to leave the NIH campus during their stay at The Inn.
“The safety of our children, young adults and families is always our top priority,” says Jennie Lucca, CEO of The Children’s Inn. “COVID-19 poses a great risk to our children and young people, many of whom are immunocompromised due to genetic diseases or treatments they undergo.”
However, the lack of volunteer support is putting a strain on Children’s Inn operations. Every year, The Children’s Inn relies on more than 2,400 volunteers to provide children, young adults and their families with a wide variety of recreational, educational and therapeutic support activities as well as nightly dinners and Sunday brunches. More than 200 volunteers work regular shifts, staffing The Inn’s reception desk, welcoming new families to The Inn and giving them tours of the facility, organizing donations, stocking The Inn’s kitchens and pantries with donated supplies, and more.
“We treasure our volunteers who do so much to help us provide a place like home to seriously ill children, young people and their families,” Lucca says. “While we very much miss their support at this time, we know they would agree with us that this is a necessary step in helping to ensure the safety of our families. We are asking the community for donations to help us make sure we can continue to provide breakfast, lunch and dinner to our children and families during this difficult time.”
To support The Children’s Inn, please make a donation to The Inn’s Feeding Families Fund at www.childrensinn.org/feedingfamilies or help provide The Inn with needed non-perishable food supplies at www.childrensinn.org/wishlist.
Located on the NIH campus, The Children’s Inn is a nonprofit hospitality house that p free lodging and supportive services to families of children with rare and serious illnesses whose best hope for a treatment or cure is a clinical trial at the NIH.
The Children’s Inn houses more than 1,500 children and their families every year from across the United States and the world free of charge to help reduce the burden of illness on families, make childhood possible today and a cure possible tomorrow. For more information about The Children’s Inn, visit childrensinn.org.