The incoming first lady made her first solo appearance on Thursday since her husband won the presidential election

By Maria Pasquini
December 10, 2020 06:18 PM
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Dr. Jill Biden joins Operation Gratitude as she assembles care packages for deployed troops on Thursday.
| Credit: OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty

Dr. Jill Biden is giving back.

On Thursday, in her first in-person solo event since her husband, President-elect Joe Biden, celebrated his victory over President Donald Trump, the next first lady helped put together care packages for U.S. troops who will be overseas for the holidays.

Stepping up to assist Operation Gratitude in Washington, D.C., Dr. Biden, 69, was joined by retired Gen. Lloyd Austin, whom her husband recently announced as his nominee for secretary of defense.

Wearing a pair of gloves as well as a face mask, Dr. Biden helped fill the care packages with items lined up in a variety of boxes, which will soon be sent off as a way to help spread holiday cheer.

“Today is part of a multi-day effort in DC and Los Angeles to pack a total of 20,000 packages,” Danielle Tenconi, Vice President of marketing and communications for Operation Gratitude, said in a statement. “Each package contains snacks, candy, 10 handwritten letters of gratitude and hand-knitted scarfs from more than 1 million volunteers nationwide."

The future first lady also shared that she hoped all Americans will commit one act of kindness this holiday season. “God bless you,” Austin could be heard telling volunteers. “God bless your families.”

Throughout the course of the week, volunteers came together at the D.C. National Guard to assemble 2,5000 individually-addressed packages, according to local TV station WJLA.

Dr. Jill Biden joins Operation Gratitude as she assembles care packages for deployed troops on Thursday.
| Credit: OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty

“In the spirit of gratitude and holidays, Thank You!!” Operation Gratitude wrote on social media following Dr. Biden’s visit. “Our Military & First Responder Heroes appreciate your support.”

In addition to the care packages, Veterans United — a sponsor of the event — encouraged anyone wanting to “Help deliver holiday cheers” to share a message through their website.

(On Thursday, Dr. Biden was also asked by reporters about the news this week that stepson Hunter Biden's taxes are being investigated, but she did not comment.)

Dr. Biden has long made supporting the military an important part of her work. In addition to being the child of a WWII veteran, the “military mom” wrote a children's book in 2012 called Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops, written from the perspective of her granddaughter Natalie, during the time her father, the late Beau Biden, spent in Iraq with the Delaware Army National Guard.

During her time as second lady, Dr. Biden also teamed up with then-First Lady Michelle Obama to start Joining Forces, an initiative helping active members of the military, veterans and their family. 

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In honor of Human Rights Day, Dr. Biden shared a message on Thursday about the importance of protecting the “vulnerable” members of our community.

“As the United States works to advance human rights around the world, we must also recognize that our task begins here at home,” her husband wrote on social media. “My administration is committed to ensuring every person is free to flourish in a society that values and defends equal justice for all.”

Alongside the message, Dr. Biden added, “Protect the marginalized. Protect the vulnerable.”