Jill Biden and military kids sort toys the White House donated to the Marine Corps Reserve program

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First lady Jill Biden takes a photo with guests during a Toys for Tots event with local Marine Corps and military-connected families on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTONJill Biden and children from military families on Wednesday helped sort toys donated by the White House to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program, which gives playthings to needy children.

The children also enjoyed skating on the South Lawn's new holiday ice rink.

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“So did you have fun ice skating?" the first lady asked about the rink, which she opened last week. “I think the rink is really neat, don't you? I love seeing it. I can see it out my window.”

The annual event typically is held at an area military base. Biden said she brought it to the White House because “our holiday theme celebrates children and the way all of you experience the season.”

She said military children also serve their country and praised their bravery, kindness and compassion.

“You may not hear this a lot but kids have something important to teach us grownups, especially military kids like you,” Biden said. "You teach us how to be brave, even when we’re scared. You teach us how to make friends, even when we don’t know anyone. You teach us how to reach out a hand to other people, people in need. And we need that courage, kindness and compassion now more than ever.”

Last year, Toys for Tots provided over 24.5 million toys to 10 million children, said Brig. Gen. Valerie Jackson, Commanding General, 4th Marine Logistic Group. "And with your support, we hope to reach even more this year.”