First lady Michelle Obama drops off 900 gifts for annual Toys for Tots drive

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First lady Michelle Obama dropped off 900 gifts yesterday as part of a Toys for Tots event in Washington, D.C. An annual drive of the Marine Corps, the campaign received the huge donation from the White House where Mrs. Obama began collecting toys for the program in 2009.

The toys were collected from residents of the White House, including President Obama and the first couple’s daughters Sasha and Malia, in addition to employees, friends and corporate donors.

“I’m very proud that the folks at the White House stepped up, and I think we have a larger contribution this year than even before,” the first lady said at the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling surrounded by Marines and volunteers. “And I brought as many as I could here with me today, but we’re going to keep the drive going and keep sending it over.”

Toys for Tots was started by a Marine Corp reservist to gather and distribute gifts for children whose parents could not afford to provide them. First lady Michelle Obama used her platform at the event to encourage more Americans and corporations to contribute to the drive, which runs through mid-to-late December.

“I want to be clear that there is still plenty of time for people all across this country to get involved with Toys for Tots,” she said.

The first lady also cited her personal dedication to military families through her Joining Forces program as an inspiration for participating in this initiative. For her, it is the selfless service of members of military families that spurs her to give back.

“You know I’m working on Joining Forces, but the military families are what inspires my work,” Mrs. Obama said, as reported by the White House blog. “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.  It could be as simple as the car pool, or the PTA, or a food pantry, or you’re stepping up for a neighbor or friend[.]”

Donations to Toys for Tots are being accepted in the Washington, D.C. area and on the organization’s web site.

Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.