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Remarks by FLOTUS & Dr. Biden at Food Bank Event. Part 1&2

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the First Lady
_______________________________________________________
For Immediate Release                          April 29, 2009

REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY AND DR. BIDEN
AT CAPITAL AREA FOOD BANK EVENT WITH CONGRESSIONAL SPOUSES:
PART ONE


Capital Area Food Bank
Washington, D.C.

2:14 P.M. EDT

DR. BIDEN:  Hello, everybody.  This event is really a reflection of Michelle Obama and the administration and all of you. 

You know, this is not something new to Michelle, because when she was in Chicago, she worked with AmeriCorps and she worked with the University of Chicago to set up a volunteer program on a massive scale.  And then when she became our First Lady, she went to -- she worked with YouthBuild, and she went to Miriam's Kitchen, and she also started her own community garden at the White House.  (Applause.)

So I can think of no better way than to celebrate the 100th day than to do a service event.  So the woman who made this all possible is our remarkable First Lady Michelle Obama.  (Applause.) 

MRS. OBAMA:  All right, we've got a goal, a thousand bags, so I'm not going to talk long because we need to get to work.  This is shift number one.  Shift number two is going to come in, and they're going to try and beat shift number one -- (laughter) -- which will never happen, of course.  And when shift number two comes in, we'll say the same thing.  (Laughter.)

But I just want to thank all of you all for being here.  This is -- I think this is a very special day, because I think this is a very special group of people, the spouses of the leadership of Congress coming together.  We're going to have a wonderful lunch tomorrow.  But we talked about this.  I've talked about this with many of you; that each of us in our roles, in our leadership roles, we have an opportunity to shine a bright light on service and the possibility of what service can do.

Today is just an example of how just a few of us -- and it's not just a few of us; this is a really good number of us that have come together.  Over 150 congressional spouses signed up to be involved in this day of service, and that's just amazing.  (Applause.) 

And one of the things that we can illustrate to the rest of the world is that it doesn't take a lot to do something major.  We're going to spend a couple of hours of our time packing up food, and it's going to feed a thousand children over the weekend here in Washington, D.C.  And I know that each and every one of us feels that this is so -- such a small sacrifice to make, that we would do it again and again.  And many of you, I know, are doing this same type of service and much more in your own districts, in your own cities and towns and communities. 

I just think it's important for America to see you all here doing this and for us doing it together, not as Republicans or Democrats or Independents.  There is no ideology; these are just all of us people who care about our country and want to make service a core part of the work that we do.

So I'm grateful to all of you for taking the extra time to come.  Many of you have brought your children, and that's always a wonderful legacy to pass on. 

We're going to do these kind of events continuously, if possible.  When we come together, whether it's for a luncheon or a picnic, whatever we do over the course of the year, we're going to do our best to organize these types of service opportunities, because it gives us a chance to get to know each other outside of sort of the work setting.  And we can give something back to the D.C. community that oftentimes don't get to see us.  And that's important, too.

So I just want to thank you all.  I want to thank the food bank for making this possible.  It's not easy to pull together a service project for 160 people, and we don't ever give them enough time. 

I also want to thank Jill Biden.  You know, she says this is all me.  This is both of us.  This is all of us, quite frankly.  We couldn't do this if you weren't willing to make it happen.

So I just want to thank you guys and make sure that we hit our goal, a thousand bags.  Let's get going.  Thanks again.  And we'll see you tomorrow at lunch.  (Applause.)

END
2:18 P.M. EDT
 
THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the First Lady
_______________________________________________________
For Immediate Release                       April 29, 2009

REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY AND DR. BIDEN
AT CAPITAL AREA FOOD BANK EVENT WITH CONGRESSIONAL SPOUSES:
PART TWO


Capital Area Food Bank
Washington, D.C.
 
3:09 P.M. EDT

DR. BIDEN:  Hi, everybody.  Gosh, thanks for being here.  We just did this just now, so now we're going to have another competition.  And this event really is a reflection of Michelle Obama and the administration and all of you. 

You know, Michelle is not new to this.  She's done community service all of her life.  When she was in Chicago she worked with AmeriCorps and at the University of Chicago.  She set up a volunteer program on a massive scale.  And then when she became our First Lady, she helped with Miriam's Kitchen and YouthBuild, and now she has a community garden at the White House. 

So really I can think of no better way to celebrate our 100th day than to be here with everybody with this service project.  And it's all due to Michelle and the wonderful job that she has done.  Our First Lady Michelle.  (Applause.)

MRS. OBAMA:  Yay!  Fired up, ready to go!  Thank you, Jill.  Jill is being modest.  It's not me; it's -- Jill has been a partner in this from the very beginning.  She has been just a true blue supporter in every endeavor, and I am grateful to have her as my partner.

We wouldn't be here without all of you.  This is something that we talked about when we came into the administration.  We've been having lunches, we've been talking, and one thing I said was that it would be great for us to start coming together across party lines, and using our power, our visibility, to get some things done but also to highlight just how simple service can be. 

I -- you know, my background, I've built a career on volunteerism and community service.  It is something that I am passionate about, and I wanted to bring that to the work of the First Lady, into the administration.  And this is just one very important, very visible example of how a group of people can come together and feed thousands of kids, which is what we're doing here today. 

And it's not just coming here together, but, as Lynne mentioned, everyone has food banks in their communities.  Many of you are -- have important, passionate projects.  It doesn't matter what it is.  It's just that we do it and that we support one another in those efforts and that we pull our communities in to this work, that we pull our kids in.  I see that some of us have brought our children, and that's such an important message to send to the next generation:  that even if you're 10, five, seven, I don't care how old, you're never too young, you're never too old to serve.

So I'm grateful to all of you.  This will not be the last time we come together, because I also think what we do when we come together is that we build relationships, we get to know one another outside of a luncheon, we get to share our passions together.  And it just sort of breaks the barriers, if there are any, that exist.

So it is so important that you all have made this commitment.  Over 150 spouses committed to serve today, and that's an incredible number. 

You are the second group.  We had group one in.  And as Lynne mentioned, we had a goal of trying to get to a thousand bags.  We hit our goal in the first group.  (Laughter.)  So now the challenge begins.  And I have to tell you that Paul Pelosi, who was in the first group, said, well, if you talk longer -- (laughter) -- then you'll slow down their progress.  That was Paul.  So you get him when you see him tomorrow.  You make sure that -- (laughter) -- and so that means we're going to work a little harder and surpass the thousand-bag mark.

So thank you all once again.  Thanks for coming.  Thanks for your energy, your spirit.  And I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow at lunch.  So let's get to work.  (Applause.

END
3:13 P.M. EDT