Tabitha Brown, 8, told her dad to walk away while she selected just the right present for him.

She picked up a leather football and set it in the holder of her IV pole and took it over to Santa’s helpers to have it wrapped.

This isn’t a typical kid shopping at the mall this holiday season. Tabitha is a patient at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

She and other hospital patients had a chance to visit The Christmas Store in the Balk Cafe. The kids shopped through hundreds of presents to choose something for their parents and siblings, free of charge. Santa visited with children as his helpers wrapped the children’s selected presents.

“This event is just amazing,” said Tabitha’s dad, Jonathon Brown. “I’m glad they have something like this for us and other kids and their families to experience. This is so cool.”

The new, unused items were donated by 17 churches from the Wyoming, Michigan, area and collected and organized by Grace Reformed Church.

“This is my third year volunteering at this event and I absolutely love it,” said volunteer Sandy Farris. “This gives the kids an opportunity to give presents … and experience a little bit of that true meaning of Christmas.”