Wearing a pair of gloves and a face mask, Dr. Biden helped fill the care packages with a variety of items including snacks, candy, and handwritten letters of gratitude.
Dr. Jill Biden, the future first lady of the United States, is stepping up for a cause close to her heart this holiday season. On Thursday, the lifelong educator and self-described "military mother," attended her first in-person solo event since her husband, President-elect Joe Biden, emerged victorious in the 2020 presidential election. The 69-year-old stepped up to assist Operation Gratitude in Washington, D.C. last week where she helped assemble care packages for U.S. troops who will be overseas for the holidays. Wearing a pair of gloves and a face mask, Dr. Biden helped fill the care packages with a variety of items including snacks, candy, and handwritten letters of gratitude.
.@DrBiden and Secretary of Defense-designate Lloyd Austin assembled care packages for deployed service members with @OpGratitude volunteers at the DC Armory earlier today pic.twitter.com/s3KwlShmsc— Michael LaRosa (@MichaelLaRosaDC) December 10, 2020
According to PEOPLE, the soon-to-be first lady was joined by retired Gen. Lloyd Austin, who was recently announced as the president-elect's nominee for secretary of defense. "Today is part of a multi-day effort in DC and Los Angeles to pack a total of 20,000 packages," Danielle Tenconi, Vice President of marketing and communications for Operation Gratitude, said in a statement. "Each package contains snacks, candy, 10 handwritten letters of gratitude, and hand-knitted scarfs from more than 1 million volunteers nationwide."
I just got confirmation that @DrBiden and her team are now getting involved! She will be helping put together some care packages with @OpGratitude at 1. We will have that on @ABC7News. Also...this means Dr. Biden and her team watched @ABC7GMW this morning, right!? WOOHOO! https://t.co/c5yp4fM5e6— Kristen Powers (@ABC7Kristen) December 10, 2020
Dr. Biden's team reportedly told ABC7 that she was inspired to volunteer after watching reporter Kristen Powers' story about Operation Gratitude. The nonprofit is said to be preparing to ship out 20,000 care packages to deployed troops with the support of Veterans United Home Loans and CSX as a way to say thank you for serving overseas in the Middle East, South Pacific, Europe, and aboard the U.S. Naval vessels. It sent out its first four care packages to deployed service members in Iraq in March 2003 and has delivered over three million care packages to deployed troops, recruit graduates, veterans, military families, first responders, and healthcare heroes since then.
Small acts of kindness can mean so much - especially to a service member deployed overseas or a military family missing them at home. Thank you @OpGratitude for letting us join you today and for all you do. pic.twitter.com/Z6x6z17qU2— Dr. Jill Biden (@DrBiden) December 10, 2020
"Small acts of kindness can mean so much - especially to a service member deployed overseas or a military family missing them at home. Thank you Operation Gratitude for letting us join you today and for all you do," Dr. Biden tweeted following her visit. Responding to her tweet, Operation Gratitude thanked her for getting involved with its work and urging fellow Americans to follow her example. "Thank you so much Dr. Biden for joining us today to assemble holiday care packages for deployed troops. Dr. Biden called on 'all Americans to commit to an act of kindness' and you can do so today through [virtual volunteerism]," the tweet reads.
In the spirit of gratitude and the holidays, Thank You!! Our Military & First Responder Heroes appreciate your support!! #ActionsSpeakLouder https://t.co/7YQwOrnJ18— Operation Gratitude (@OpGratitude) December 10, 2020
Dr. Biden — the child of a WWII veteran — has long made supporting the military an important part of her work. During Joe Biden's two terms as the vice president, Dr. Biden teamed up with then-First Lady Michelle Obama to launch Joining Forces to help active members of the military, veterans, and their families. In 2010, she teamed up with White House interns to put together care packages for the families of wounded soldiers who were being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.
.@DrBiden participates in Operation Gratitude a care package event with President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for defense secretary, General Lloyd Austin pic.twitter.com/3NRzROM45R— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) December 10, 2020
"It’s the small acts of kindness that make a difference to the military and their families. I hope when you go back to your colleges and communities you continue this kind of service," she told the interns at the time. The Bidens also stressed the importance of protecting the "vulnerable" members of our community on Thursday in honor of Human Rights Day. "As the United States works to advance human rights around the world, we must also recognize that our task begins here at home. My administration is committed to ensuring every person is free to flourish in a society that values and defends equal justice for all," the president-elect wrote on social media. Dr. Biden added: "Protect the marginalized. Protect the vulnerable."