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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
December 6, 2008

Press Availability by the First Lady at the "Holiday Mail for Heroes" Packing Event
American Red Cross Headquarters
Washington, D.C.

photos  Photos

10:25 A.M. EST

MRS. BUSH: Okay, I just wanted to remind people in the United States that this holiday season is the time to think about other people. And everyone that's here today -- and you can see how many volunteers we have, lots of volunteers -- are here remembering our troops who are deployed who will be away from their families. Tens of thousands of members of our military will be away from their families over the holidays.

Mrs. Laura Bush greets one of the military volunteers and his child during the Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008, American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes event in Washington, D.C. Standing in the background are American Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern, in red, and Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, Chairman of the American Red Cross. As the room full of volunteers sorted cards created by Americans to send to U.S. troops deployed around the world, Mrs. Bush encouraged Americans to do volunteer work in their home towns for those in need of food, care or appreciation. Cards for the troops can still be sent until December 10th at designated post office boxes.  White House photo by Chris Greenberg And Americans have until December 10th to send them a holiday card, thanking them for their service and for keeping us free. If you send your card to a designated post office box, "Holiday Cards for Heroes" post office box, then Pitney Bowes, who's the partner in this Red Cross project, will make sure the letters are sorted and sent to troops, our troops that are deployed around the world.

So I want to encourage people to send a card, a holiday card, to one of our military at the places they're serving around the world, and also just to remember other people during the holidays. If you have a chance to go to your local Red Cross affiliate for some kind of volunteering, like these people are, or remember your food banks in your local communities, make sure that for every thing you think you might want for Christmas, be sure to try to give something to someone else that's in need.

So thank you all for coming out. Happy holidays, and I want to thank all the volunteers who are here behind me for volunteering. It was very sweet to sort and read these cards and see what Americans have written in to our troops.

Q What's it mean for you to be here with everyone today?

MRS. BUSH: Well, it's -- just I think this is really an important part of the holiday season, and that's to have the chance to volunteer to do things to help other people. If you're looking for something to do in your own community, you can go to, G-O-V. On the website, put in your own zip code, and volunteer opportunities that are in your neighborhood will come up. So that's That's USA Freedom Corps' website, which will give you an opportunity to volunteer in your own communities.

But I think there's something really sweet about being able to be with other volunteers as they come to work early on a Saturday morning. They're spending their Saturday morning doing this, and there's -- I think there's a wonderful fellowship between people who volunteer.

Mrs. Laura Bush joins military and civilian volunteers Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008, as she signs and sorts seasonal cards written for U.S. troops at the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes event. Seated next to Mrs. Bush at Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C., is young volunteer Tre'shaad "Tre" Cox, age 11, with American Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern at the end of the table, in red. At very far right is Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, Chairman of the American Red Cross. In the room full of volunteers, Mrs. Bush reminded Americans that they have until December 10th to send a holiday card at designated post office boxes for the troops deployed around the world.  White House photo by Chris Greenberg Q I think you have a big fan right next to you. (Laughter.)

MRS. BUSH: Yes, exactly, like Dawson; he's volunteering. (Laughter.) So thanks, everybody, again. Thank you all, and happy holidays --

Q How do you plan on volunteering after January --

MRS. BUSH: Well, I'm going to do a lot of volunteering. Hopefully I'll be able to go back to some schools and volunteer, but I'm going to continue the work I've done with women in Afghanistan through the Afghan-American Women's Council; that's one way I'll be able to. Then when the President's Freedom Institute is completed at SMU Library, we'll be -- I'll be able to continue to work through that for -- especially with women in Afghanistan and the people of Burma.

END 10:28 A.M. EST

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