First Lady Michelle Obama delivered about 900 gifts to the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots campaign but perhaps lost in the seriousness of her mission, forgot to wear her smile.
Taking a few minutes to thank military families at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C. Michelle Obama shared how they make her job “easy” in their representation of the U.S. as well as in inspiring her role in the White House.
“The military families are what inspires my work,” she said at the annual toy drive started by a Marine reservist and his wife.
“Somehow you’re always the ones who find the extra hours in the day to give back, above and beyond what life has thrown your way anyway,” she said.
Among the unwrapped toys donated today by White House employees and American CEOs were Michelle Obama’s two daughters 14-year-old Malia and 11-year-old Sasha, according to the White House.
Michelle Obama along with Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, started the Joining Forces campaign in 2011 to honor and support military families.
Before slapping her hands together to get to work, Michelle Obama wished volunteers and service members at the military base “Happy Holidays”.
She then assisted the marines in sorting the gifts into bins marked for boys and girls by different age groups.
Noting the lack of toys for older children, Michelle Obama advised a little help in donors remembering the big kids this year.
“A lot of times when we do the shopping we like to reach for the cute little bear or the little doll, but the truth is that they also need gifts for older kids as well,” she said.
For children ages 11 to 14, she suggested books, games, backpacks and clothes “because if your teens are like mine, they want some clothes, something cute to wear”.
Retired Marine Lt. Gen. Pete Osman, president and CEO of Toys for Tots, said the demand for gifts seems to go up every season, especially in the Northeast after this year’s “curveball” Superstorm Sandy.
Pete Osman thanked the first lady for being the program’s “No. 1 volunteer” since she has enlisted public support and rolled up her sleeves to help in each of her four years in the White House.
“When Michelle Obama leads, the American people follow,” he said.
Presents collected from the White House toy drive included school supplies, books and toys by K’NEX Brands. President Barack Obama picked up the toys last month when he visited a suburban Philadelphia toy factory as part of his campaign to get the public to pressure Congress to act to prevent the so-called “fiscal cliff”.