Bearing a sack full of toys, First Lady Michelle Obama visited a Virginia warehouse today to meet with volunteers and officials from the Marine Corps Reserve's annual Toys and Tots drive. Workers from every office of the White House, including the Obama family, have collected more than 500 toys over the past few weeks, to benefit underprivileged children in the Washington, D.C. area.
"We only brought 30 percent of what we actually collected because that's all that we could fit into the van, but we are still collecting as we speak," Mrs. Obama told a group of about 15 volunteers and servicemen in a Toys for Tots warehouse near the Marine base in Quantico, Virginia, full of bins and stacked piles of donated toy cars, board games, dolls, bicycles and other playthings. Included among the White House gifts were Legos, books and a Barbie Corvette (Sasha and Mala Obama helped pick selections for kids in their age range).
After helping sort toys into bins, Mrs. Obama addressed the program's need for donations for 11-to-14-year-olds. "One of the challenges that this program has is really finding toys for the older kids," she said, addressing us reporters directly, asking Americans who haven't donated yet to donate with that age in mind. (Toys for Tots recommends clothes, video games, chapter books, MP3 players and sporting goods.) "If you're 11, you're still waiting for Santa, and you still want to make sure that they have something in the stocking."
Mrs. Obama also thanked the Marine Corps and their families for administering the Toys for Tots drive, especially in the midst of war and economic crisis. "In a time where you all are already serving and making such a huge sacrifice, you show America that you can dig even deeper in this time, and put your time and effort into making sure that kids all around this country have something wonderful to wake up to on Christmas morning," she said. "That's what America is all about--people already sacrificing, stepping up, and doing a little bit more."
Keep up with the Obama's on Washington correspondent Cynthia Gordy's blog "Obama Watch."
Click through Michelle Obama's every move in the "First Lady Diary."