First lady Melania Trump joined Marines this week for an event aimed at encouraging children to do good in the world.
Mrs. Trump participated in the annual tradition of bringing attention and hope to less fortunate children, while spreading holiday cheer to military families during a Toys for Tots event hosted aboard Joint Base Anacostia – Bolling in Washington, D.C. She helped military children sort through donated toys, socialized with them while they created holiday cards, and thanked the military and their families for the sacrifices they make for the nation.
“As first lady, I have made it my mission to shine a light on programs that provide more opportunities for children to succeed,” she said during her opening statement. “My campaign, Be Best, focuses on inspiring and lifesaving work of people and organizations across our country. I believe in the good work that Toys for Tots is doing. 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.”
Earlier this year, Mrs. Trump launched her Be Best initiative focusing on three major issues facing children today: social, emotional and physical health. While she participated in the 2017 Marine Toys for Tots event, this year she had a specific message to share.
Christine Parker stood behind a row of boxes wrapped like presents, watching her daughter, Sophia, converse with the first lady across the table from her. Parker said that Sophia knew all about Mrs. Trump’s Be Best campaign.
“She’s only seven so she understands what it means to do good and do right,” Parker said. “And Be Best is something that she can understand easily and what she probably already wants to do, especially at Christmastime.”
While the children assisted Mrs. Trump with sorting toys, Parker did note that she still might have seen Sophia ask the first lady if she could keep one of the toys. Despite being caught up in the excitement of the day, though, Parker knew her daughter was learning valuable life lessons.
“I think she just has the heart of service and love,” Parker said.
Gunnery Sgt. Jason Parsons said his two daughters in attendance also knew the importance of giving to the less fortunate. He said events, like Toys for Tots, were important in sharing the message to his children.
“It is a good example as to what it means,” Parsons said.
Nancy Rodriguez also stood near Parker, watching her seven-year-old daughter, Jaqueline, sit next to Trump to help her create a holiday card. Rodriguez was happy to help make her daughter’s dreams come true by not only meeting Santa, but the first lady.
“When she woke up this morning,” Rodriguez said, “the first thing she said was, ‘Today is Tuesday! I see Mrs. Trump!’”
Before the event came to a close, Santa entered the room with a hearty, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” while carrying armfuls of Be Best tote bags. They were filled with a White House coloring book, specialty chocolate, and Be Best branded pencils, stickers, and a pencil case. The two passed out the swag then Mrs. Trump took a moment to shake each of the parent’s hands.
After the event ended, 11-year-old Everett Myers was excited to show off his Be Best bag. When asked what the first thing he was going to tell his friends at school was, it was going to be “That I met the first lady.”
Everett’s father, Chief Petty Officer Bryan Myers, recognized his son’s excitement.
“It’s not something that everybody gets the privilege and the honor to meet the first lady, so it was just one of those once in a lifetime opportunities,” he said.
Approximately 20 children from five different military and government organizations around the Washington, D.C. area were randomly invited to the annual event, reported Lt. Col. Erwin Wunderlich.
Toys for Tots is still accepting donations for the holiday season. To find a local donation site near you, go to Ways to Donate.
Visit Be Best to learn more about the first lady’s initiative.Read comments