President, First Lady and Members of Congress Participate in Service Event for Military Children

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
Jun 25, 2009

Washington, DC - Today, President Obama and Mrs. Obama will join hundreds of Congressional family members and five national nonprofit organizations in a United We Serve event sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The project will benefit the children of military families.

The Obama Administration recognizes that at this extraordinary moment in our nation's history, Americans have a unique opportunity to come together to solve our nation's most vexing problems. In this spirit, President Obama has announced an exciting new nationwide service initiative—United We Serve—which officially began on June 22 at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. The initiative will culminate with a National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11. The Corporation for National and Community Service is the key coordinating federal partner for this initiative.

“America faces the greatest challenges it has seen in generations,” President Obama said. “Instead of creating a new government bureaucracy or top-down programs, we need to partner and build on the extraordinary efforts taking place in communities throughout the country. Michelle and I are proud to participate in the Corporation for National and Community Service's United We Serve event today with so many Congressional families and nonprofit organizations.”

All Americans are encouraged to visit http://www.serve.gov to find service opportunities near them, post their own volunteer projects, and tell their friends and neighbors what they're working on. The President's and Mrs. Obama's call to action videos can be viewed at http://www.serve.gov and http://www.nationalservice.gov.

The Obamas and Congressional family members will fill 10,000 summer backpacks with books, healthy snacks, Frisbees, and other items for children of our servicemen and women. An additional 5,000 backpacks were previously filled by volunteers from Feeding America, AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps and soldiers serving at Fort McNair. These 15,000 backpacks will be distributed to children of military families from all military branches who will be attending Operation Purple summer camps organized by the National Military Families Association and the Sierra Club in 34 states and to children of military families attending USO Metropolitan Washington (USO-Metro) events this summer at 13 military installations in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.

The service event is at 10 a.m. at Fort McNair in Washington prior to the annual Congressional picnic.

“I commend the President and Mrs. Obama as well as all of the Congressional families who are participating in today's United We Serve event,” said Nicola Goren, acting CEO of the Corporation. “They remind us that we're all in this together—citizens in search of solutions and a government partnering with citizens to build a better future for all Americans.”

Goren also thanked the organizations that are participating in the event. “Without the efforts of each of these organizations, this project would not be possible,” she said. “It's wonderful to see so many individuals and organizations take part in an effort to benefit children of military families, under the leadership of our president. These children are in our hearts and minds while their parents are helping to keep our nation and our world safe.”

In addition to the National Military Family Association, the Sierra Club and the USO, participating organizations include Feeding America and First Book. First Book is providing two age-appropriate books for each backpack. Feeding America is contributing the bags and a variety of snacks. The Sierra Club is providing Frisbees and covering shipping costs. The Corporation is supplying trading cards with images of Bo, the Obamas' dog, and book marks. The backpacks will also include a letter signed by President and Mrs. Obama thanking children of military families and their parents for the sacrifices they make on behalf of our country.

Media Contact

Samantha Jo Warfield
(202) 606-6775
sjwarfield@cns.gov

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