On Tuesday, the first lady headed to a military base in southwest Washington, D.C. to participate in some holiday-oriented volunteering. Indeed, video of Melania Trump at a Toys for Tots event reveals that she's in the holiday spirit — and helping to make sure children have a joyful holiday season.
As its website describes, Marine Toys for Tots distributes toys to children whose families cannot afford to buy them holiday presents. The Hill reported that Trump joined Marines and children volunteers at the Toys for Tots gift preparation event at the Anacostia-Bolling Military Base.
Prior to working alongside the children to pack gifts and write Christmas cards, Trump spoke briefly about how she has prioritized children in her work as first lady. As she described (via The Hill):
As a mother, I feel children are the most precious gift of all ... As First Lady, I have made it my mission to shine a light on programs that provide more opportunities for children to succeed.
The first lady also commended Marine Toys for Tots for its laudable mission. "I believe in the good work that Toys for Tots is doing," she said via a broadcast on EWTN Global Catholic Network. "Their mission to send messages of hope to children and motivate them to grow into responsible and patriotic citizens and community leaders is so important to our society."
The Associated Press (AP) reported that Retired Lt. Gen. Henry Osman, the president and CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, indicated that Trump was a great asset to the Toys for Tots program. He said via the AP that the first lady was "our No. 1 volunteer" and added, "What a champ she has been." The outlet also reported the White House's announcement that Trump donated 100 books to a related Toys for Tots literacy program.
In addition to working alongside the children at the event, Trump (with the help of Santa) passed out White House candy and coloring books in tote bags with the phrase "Be Best" printed on them, the AP reported. "Be Best" is the name of the first lady's initiative focused on children's development.
Tuesday was not the first time Trump participated in a Toys for Tots event. Last December, the first lady also attended a gift sorting event at the same military base. During her speech at the 2017 event, she emphasized the importance of gratitude during the holidays, as CNN reported.
"It is my hope that during this holiday season, people will remember it is not about gifts — it is about family, service and gratitude," she said via the network. "We must continue to look out for, and help each other."
Notably, participating in Marine Toys for Tots events appears to be a tradition among recent first ladies. CNN reported that former First Lady Michelle Obama attended the Anacostia-Bolling Military Base's holiday event in every year of her husband's presidency. The Marine Toys for Tots' website also lists Laura Bush, Barbara Bush, and Nancy Reagan as supporters of its initiatives.