Continuing a Tradition, Inspiring Joy

While many children are dreaming of the holiday gifts they will receive this season, patients at Children's National are dreaming of something else: feeling better. In fact, a lot of these children will spend weeks, even months, in the hospital. However, thanks to an annual tradition the Zirkin family started in 2011, a lot of kids who are spending their holiday in the hospital will receive some cheer.

On Dec. 12, Harold and Nancy Zirkin, two of their children, and four grandchildren gathered at Child's Play, a DC-based toy store, to choose $10,000 worth of toys for Dr. Bear's Holiday Toy Shop, where parents can select toys right in the hospital for their sick children at no charge.

“When a child is sick in the hospital, it is hard on the whole family,” Harold said. “This is especially true during the holiday season, when parents don't always have the luxury of leaving their child's bedside to go buy gifts. By donating free toys, we hope to bring smiles to children's faces and relief to their loved ones. Small moments of joy can go a long way in a sick child's life.”

Further, the Zirkins see their act of charity as a way to emphasize the importance of giving back to their young grandchildren. The Zirkins began their partnership with Children’s National over 35 years ago.

Learn how you can help support children this holiday by visiting

Make a Difference

Your charitable donation changes children’s lives. Support exceptional health care and discoveries that offer hope, healing and brighter futures.