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A 'Royal' Holiday for Local Families

Santa Claus stopped by the Royal Inn on Thursday night for a special celebration sponsored by the police department.

Living at the Royal Inn isn't easy, but it is home to as many as 100 people, including many families with young children.

The holiday spirit was out in full on Thursday, however, as Santa Claus arrived by fire truck and families enjoyed music and even a Christmas tree. Children took time to write letters to Santa, and the Chick-fil-A cow was on hand to deliver meals. 

Members of the Anne Arundel County Police Department organized the event with local churches as part of ongoing efforts to improve conditions along Annapolis Road in north Odenton. 

"This is a very difficult environment for a child to live in," said Lt. Steve Thomas, who helped organize the event and has gotten to know many Royal Inn residents. "Doing this kind of thing is really about letting them know we're there for them."

The Royal Inn houses several families who would otherwise be homeless. There are single moms with young children, and families with as many as seven kids. Some stay only for a short time, but others have lived at the motel for a year or more. 

Occasionally, residents must deal with criminal activity in their midst. In September and October, police responded to two robberies of residents within a week. 

"It is very hard living here, especially when you have children," said Julia Torrijos, who lives at the motel with her 13-year-old son, Cruz. "This does make it feel a little bit more like home. Normally, it doesn't even feel like the holidays. Having people come here and do this is really great."

Anonymous November 30, 2012 at 12:22 PM
This story makes me so happy!! Instead of ignoring a population who doesn't seem worth the time to many others, this was such a wonderful way to give those children something special. Kudos to the Anne Arundel County Police Dept.
Shanna November 30, 2012 at 01:11 PM
And kudos to the Odenton Volunteer Fire Dept.... Many people forget that even if adults have problems, there may still be kids involved. And kids are kids and they are also our future. Its like some kids are born without a chance of any kind of normal life. And doing things like this.....and taking time out your day to talk to them and help them....just makes a world of difference to them. But too many times we are too busy with our own lives or we can't see outside our little world, or some people just don't care. I wish I had more time to devote to helping children. A little bit of love and caring goes a long way.
Calique November 30, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Santa and Mrs. Clause are so cute!!! What a nice story. Great job, folks!
Bryon November 30, 2012 at 03:05 PM
I applaud the the AACPD for organizing this special Christmas event for the children and residents. I saw where they also have a " Shop with a Cop program too where they pick children up from home and take them shopping for gifts at Walmart then when they are done they get to go to Outback for lunch. It's important that our young people see law enforcement as role models and in a positive way.
Dottie December 01, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Great story! Need more of this kind of sharing and caring not only during the holidays, but year 'round. Thanks to the AACPD and participating churches for remembering an often overlooked segment of our community - the children of poorer and/or troubled parents. I hope this event made the holiday season a little brighter for these kids.

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