BETHESDA, Md. — This time of year, the National Institute of Health is usually gearing up for their largest fundraiser, An Evening for Hope. But the coronavirus pandemic has canceled the event and changed the way The Children’s Inn will be raising funds this year.
Children from all over the world stay at The Children’s Inn in Bethesda while they receive lifesaving treatments. The annual fundraiser helps keep that support available for them.
“We still want to keep the magic of The Children's Inn alive, however, we still have to put in extra precautions right now to ensure the safety and well-being of all residents.” Stephanie Feinberg, resident services operations manager, said.
When patients come to the National Institute of Health, Feinberg said it’s because all other treatment options have failed, or they have a condition or disease so rare it hasn’t been diagnosed.
It can be a time where all magic is lost for them. It’s why the team at The Children’s Inn is working tirelessly to keep their guest in good spirits.
“We want them to walk in our building and really feel like, ‘Wow, I'm home now. I'm in a safe space. I'm in an exciting and happy space,” Feinberg said.
Eighteen families are living at the inn right now. Feinberg said they’re still doing all they can to keep the kids excited about their futures – in a virtual way.
“We went to the zoo and got to meet with elephants and elephant zookeepers. We are going to have a Zoom with a local police officer. So, it's really allowing children to experience the world," she said.
Thanks to D.C. celebrity chef Jose Andres, the children are also getting gourmet meals during the pandemic.
“Last week, Chef Jose Andres came up with dinners for The Children's Inn, and also came with so many breakfast items," Feinberg said. "So, he and his team are providing breakfast and dinners every single night for The Children's Inn and for families to make sure that they'll still eating, especially a nutritious and healthy meal.”
Usually this time of year, they’d also be gearing up to raise money to help these families.
“The evening hope event generally raises a million dollars,” CEO Jennie Lucca said.
This year, the coronavirus has moved their fundraising online.
“We are very excited about the auction," Lucca said. "You can go to the link, it's www.childrensinn.org/auction, and then once you sign up you can bid for the next three days."
Here are other ways you can help patients at The Children's Inn: