Spreading holiday cheer with gifts donated by the First Daughters, White House staff, and corporations...
In what has become an annual tradition, First Lady Michelle Obama played Santa on Tuesday with a visit to Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, where she delivered about 900 boxed gifts to the Marine Corps' Toys for Tots drive, donated by First Daughters Malia and Sasha, White House staff and American CEOs, the White House said. Clad in a sporty orange cowl sweater and black slacks, Mrs. Obama entered the naval installation along the Potomac River in Washington, DC, carrying a big red sack of gifts. (Above: Mrs. Obama was escorted by SSgt Joel Vazquez as she arrived)
The First Lady thanked the volunteers and donors for the project, noting that it was especially meaningful to attend the event on a military base, since Toys for Tots was started by a Marine reservist and his wife.
"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," Mrs. Obama said. "And this is just one of many examples of how our military
families are always going that extra mile to serve our communities and
Mrs. Obama's gift delivery included toys from K'NEX Brands. President Obama picked up the toys when he recently visited the company's suburban Philadelphia factory as part of his campaign to get the public to pressure Congress to act to prevent America from diving over the fiscal cliff.
"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, thanked the First Lady for being the program's "No. 1 volunteer" since she has enlisted public support and personally donated gifts during each of her four years in the White House.
"When Michelle Obama leads, the American people follow," Osman said.
"The military families are what inspires my work," Mrs. Obama said. "Because even though all of you are dealing with your own hardships and challenges and struggles, you're moving from base to base every couple of years; even though you've endured deployment after deployment, the miraculous thing about you all and your spirit is somehow you always are the first people to volunteer for something."
Mrs. Obama's next holiday outing will be to the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC, on Friday, Dec. 14th.
Click here for links to all posts about the 2012 holidays.
*Photos by Lawrence Jackson/White House.