After the pardon, Obamas give out turkeys
By Garance Franke-Ruta
After very publicly pardoning a pampered turkey earlier in the day, President Obama took part in a decidedly lower-profile turkey and food give-away to some of the District of Columbia's less fortunate residents late Wednesday afternoon.
Obama's family -- Michelle, Sasha and Malia; his mother-in-law, Marian Robinson; and his half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, her husband, Konrad Ng and their two daughters, Suhaila and Savita -- joined him in motorcading up to the U Street neighborhood, where their appearance thrilled workers at Martha's Table, a charity that hosts educational programs and provides food and clothing for low-income youth and families.
The group runs a food pantry, thrift store and teen mentoring program on 14th Street between V and W. It has long been popular with Capitol Hill workers as a place to donate goods and other forms of support. But the Obamas' surprise appearance at the pantry made it "the best Thanksgiving I've ever had," said Jessica Carson, 23, who works with the group's teen program.
The Obama family stood behind long tables handing out foodstuffs and wishing those picking up the groceries a "Happy Thanksgiving," according to a pool report. Michelle Obama handed out fresh vegetables; Sasha, bags of stuffing; Obama, pumpkin pies; and Robinson frozen turkeys. Some of the bags were hand-decorated with paint and glitter by students at the River School in the city; others came from the nearby Whole Foods supermarket.
"It felt like family," said Carson. "One of our teens tried to sneak off without his vegetables, and Obama made sure he got them."
Added her co-worker Ronald Allen, 29, "It's good to see Obama recognizing community work" and drawing his presidential spotlight to "the underbelly of society that doesn't get that attention."
"He was elected on my birthday so I was able to share that with him," Allen said. "He said, 'Well, it was a good day for both of us.' "
Carson had her own star-struck moment. "I met Michelle Obama and I'm an up-and-coming designer and she said she'd wear one of my dresses!" Carson said. "Sasha said she loved my glasses!"
Laura Mickels, 22 and with the youth program, said that individuals from the first lady's office also did a 15-minute workshop with the teens.
"It was awesome," said Allen.
November 25, 2009; 9:26 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency
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