The Obamas work food distribution table, gift turkeys and White House M&Ms to surprised patrons...
On the chilly, drizzly eve of Thanksgiving, the First Family on Wednesday afternoon continued a longstanding tradition of holiday community service with a visit to Capital Area Food Bank in Northeast Washington, DC. President Obama, First Lady Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha and First Grandmother Marian Robinson chatted with patrons as they handed out recyclable green shopping bags full of holiday groceries to a crowd of excited visitors. (Above: The First Family in action)
"Happy Thanksgiving to you!" President Obama said repeatedly, and asked people their names and holiday plans.
The 4:30 PM outing came after a jocular turkey pardoning ceremony in the morning, where the President grinned his way through the annual reprieve for two lucky gobblers, Liberty and Peace. He was still filled with holiday spirit, and smiled, chatted and shook hands with the patrons who approached the long distribution table where he stood with his family, offering bags of baby carrots, grapes and apples from blue plastic tubs.
There was a special treat on offer, too: White House M&Ms were gifted to the delighted patrons, who were not informed that the Obama family would be at work. The special candy is in white boxes with a blue Presidential seal and President Obama's autograph.
The food bank donates 30 million pounds of food per year to those in need, according to the White House. Many of the patrons were regulars, according to pool, and surprised to see the First Family at work in the warehouse-style room, which was filled with stacked pallets and shelves of food boxes.
The President was clad casually in a dark blue shirt, the collar unbuttoned, and an unzipped jacket, and he admired a sharply dressed patron.
"Now that's a nice looking suit!" He told one man, who wore a beige pinstriped suit.
The First Lady wore a green and black dress with a maroon hooded sweatshirt. The girls had an outfit change from the morning's pardon ceremony, where their sparkling shoes had caught the attention of the press.
The White House said that members of the Oregon State basketball team were also at work during the hour the First Family visited. That, of course, is the team coached by Mrs. Obama's brother, Craig Robinson.
The President and Mrs. Obama donated two dressed turkeys to the food bank, given by Jaindl’s Turkey Farm in Orefield, Pennsylvania, the White House said.
The Obama Family Thanksgiving celebration on Thursday will be at the White House. Update: The menu. On Friday, the winter holidays begin, as Mrs. Obama is presented with the Official White House Christmas Tree during during a ceremony by the North Portico. Update: The presentation.
The motorcade left the Capital Area Food Bank at 5:17 pm and, after an uneventful ride, arrived at the White House at 5:28 pm.
*Top photo by Pete Souza/White House; other photos & Video by AP/pool