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Remarks by the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden at the Capital Area Food Bank Event with Congressional Spouses: Part One

April 29, 2009

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.)

Michelle Obama, Remarks by the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden at the Capital Area Food Bank Event with Congressional Spouses: Part One Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/320248

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