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The White House
Office of the First Lady
For Immediate Release

Remarks by the First Lady during Visit to Toys for Tots Warehouse

11:55 A.M. EST

MRS. OBAMA:  Well, thank you, everyone.  It's good to see you all.  Man, okay, you can make some noise.  (Laughter.)  I know they've told you to be restricted and -- but it's Christmas!  (Laughter.)  And we brought toys.  It's so good to see everybody.

Let me thank a few people -- Major Stapp for all his work and leadership, and his wife and his family, all of your families who have helped.  We know that the Marine Corps, you guys do a lot of the work, but you couldn't do what you do if you didn't have your families supporting you.  So I want to thank all the spouses who've stepped up, as well.

I want to thank all the volunteers who have lent a hand to this effort.  We've tried to do our part at the White House.  We've made an announcement.  We've led a wonderful drive that Tara and Lindsey have worked on on our end.  And I want to find Tara and Lindsey.  Where are you, guys?  Just raise your hands because -- oh, you guys are back there.  (Applause.)  Tara and Lindsey helped to coordinate the effort at the White House, and they did a phenomenal job.

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.  Every office in the White House, not just in the actual White House building, but in the executive building, everyone has chipped in and stepped up beyond belief.  This was one of the easy asks that we've had to do this year.

So I want to thank you for allowing us to be a part of this.  The work that you do, particularly in these economic times, are so important.  And what you guys represent, the Marine Corps, in this effort, as I was saying earlier, is that in a time where you all are already serving and making such a huge sacrifice, all of you -- the troops and their families -- that 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, that's what America is all about -- people already sacrificing, stepping up, and doing a little bit more. 

And we are just so proud and so grateful for what you were doing for this country, what you've done for this effort.  And we will be a part of this as long as I'm in the White House.  We will be continuing to help this effort.

So I want to thank you all from the bottom of my hearts.  And on behalf of the President, Malia, Sasha, Bo, and Grandma -- (laughter) -- we wish everybody a Happy Holidays, a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, everybody out there who's celebrating anything happy.  (Laughter.) 

So let's get to work.  We've got work to do.  (Applause.)

(Mrs. Obama tours the warehouse facility and sorts toys.)

(Inaudible) -- and this is typical of this effort.  We've got, you know, more than enough toys for younger kids.  And one of the challenges that this program has is really finding toys for the older kids.  And those are the bins for the kids that are 11-14, and as you can see, they're almost empty here.

And for those of you that are writing stories, there's still time to just ask people, as they think about donating in the coming days and weeks, that they really focus on some of the older kids, 11-14.  I know Semonti -- we have handouts of some suggestions for what people can get.

But this would be a good way in these last few days just to push to make sure -- because you look over in those bins and you just sort of think, you know, the little kids, great, but, you know, if you're 11, you're still waiting for Santa, and you still want to make sure that they have something in the stocking.

So again, for those of you that are writing stories in the next day or so, it'd be great to emphasize that.  I would really appreciate it, and so would all the kids and volunteers here.

So I'm going to go back shopping -- (laughter) -- because we still have a couple of more days, and we're going to pick up some more toys for 11- to 14-year-olds.

Thank you, guys.  Thank you all.  Thanks.

12:08 P.M. EST