Obama Family Marks Thanksgiving by Helping at Food Bank

Turkey Pardon
President Barack Obama pardons "Popcorn" with his daughters Sasha Obama, 12, and Malia Obama, 15, on the North Portico of the White House. Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Barack Obama and his family packed and helped distribute bags of food at a Washington charity, continuing what has become a regular part of their Thanksgiving holiday.

Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their two daughters took part today in the project at the Capital Area Food Bank, which distributes 45 million pounds of food annually to the needy.

“Come on down, guys,” the president said as he filled bags for recipients of the food collected by the organization.

Obama handed out onions, as his wife, Michelle, distributed carrots. Their daughters, Sasha and Malia, gave out apples and candy. The president’s mother-in-law, Marian Robinson, distributed a recipe for sweet potato curry.

The first family was joined by members from The Mission Continues, a group of veterans who joined the military after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and now are engaged in charitable service work.

Earlier in the afternoon, Obama and his daughters stood under the North Portico of the White House for another holiday custom: delivering a presidential pardon for a national Thanksgiving turkey.

This year’s bird, named Popcorn and selected by a vote on the White House website, is from a farm in Minnesota, as was the alternate, named Caramel.

“The office of the presidency, the most powerful position in the world, brings with it many awesome and solemn responsibilities,” Obama said. “This is not one of them.”