(WASHINGTON) — First lady Michelle Obama volunteered with the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots campaign Tuesday, continuing a tradition she’s made with the organization each year since entering the White House.
Toys for Tots is a volunteer organization that collects gifts for needy children. Before joining service members in sorting the toy and clothing donations into large boxes for delivery, Obama thanked the assorted volunteers, which were overwhelmingly military, for taking time for the program during the holiday season.
“As you all know, Toys for Tots started with a military family — a Marine reservist and his wife who decided that they wanted to make the holiday just a little bit better for kids in need,” she said. “And since then, so many Americans — including so many military families like all of you — have spent countless hours bringing gifts and holiday cheer and everything else that is wonderful about the holidays to children all across this country.”
The first lady said the event was an example of military families “always going that extra mile” to serve communities.
“Somehow you always are the first people to volunteer for something,” she said. “It could be as simple as the carpool, or the PTA, or a food pantry, or you’re stepping up for a neighbor or friend; family members of your own.”
The small event took place at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in the southeast of the city. Some donations came from the White House itself, including clothes from the Obama daughters, Sasha and Malia.
Also found among the gifts were boxes of K’NEX construction toys President Obama brought back from a recent visit to their factory in Pennsylvania.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ralph Ellis and Rosa Flores, CNN
Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz, Pamela Brown and MaryLynn Ryan, CNN