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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
January 22, 2004

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Capital Area Food Bank's Souper Bowl of Caring
Capital Area Food Bank
Washington, D.C.

2:05 P.M. EST

MRS. BUSH: I'm often asked, what are some of the really neat things about getting to be the First Lady of the United States? And I will have to say having Patrick Ramsey introduce you is one of them. (Laughter.)

So thank you very much, Patrick. And thank you very much for joining us today to highlight the importance of service. And Nick and Aris, students who are here, and all these other students who are here in our audience, they know the rewards of serving a neighbor in need.

I want to thank Senator Graham, Mayor Williams from Washington, of course, for supporting Centers of Caring, like the Capital Area Food Bank. And to Lynn Brantley and to Bill Rudnick and the many volunteers who volunteer and are here all the time to help feed the hungry, thank you all very, very much.

Brad and the Souper Bowl of Caring volunteers will make this a Super Bowl to remember. Today, I invite every American to join their team. Over the next 10 days, support youth volunteers all across the country as they lead the charge against hunger, and on Super Bowl Sunday contribute one dollar to help a neighbor in need in your community.

An estimated 130 million Americans will watch the Super Bowl. Imagine how many hungry families we could feed if everyone just gives one dollar. One person alone cannot do everything. But these young people show us that one person can do something. They remind us that you don't have to throw a touchdown to win with someone. You don't have to wear a badge to rescue someone. And you don't need a medical degree to help somebody feel better. You don't have to run for office to change your country. Volunteers are heroes. And through acts of love and kindness, you help build a more compassionate America.

These young people teach us that the answers to many of our country's most pressing problems can be found in our communities, in our churches and in our hearts. What began in one small church in South Carolina has grown to 12,000 centers across the country. Through collections of $1 bills, more than $20 million has been raised to fight hunger over the past 10 years and new generations of young people are continuing this great tradition of service in America.

In the story of Jesus feeding 5,000 people in the Gospel of John, one child put his faith in God and inspired others to share with their neighbors. This little child believed that the little he had to give could make a difference. And that's the spirit of the Souper Bowl of Caring.

In accordance with this story, youth volunteers from Alamo Heights Christian Church in my home state of Texas planned to collect 5,000 food items. Their teachers suggested that they target a more realistic goal of 500. But these dedicated young people persisted and they exceeded their goal. This is the spirit of volunteerism.

On Super Bowl weekend, I encourage every American to give what they can and to give hope to those in need. President Bush and I are grateful for volunteers across America for inspiring others to love their neighbors. And we're especially thankful for the idealism and the spirit of the young people from Souper Bowl of Caring. Thank you all very, very much. (Applause.)

2:10 P.M. EST

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