Jill Biden and Defense Secretary-designate Lloyd Austin joined forces to help pack “care packages” for deployed troops.

Happy Hanukkah to those who will begin celebrating tonight.

Your pool is at the DC Armory in Southeast DC awaiting the arrival of Dr. Jill Biden and Defense Secretary-designate Lloyd Austin to help pack “care packages” for deployed troops.

The transition describes this as Dr. Biden’s first, in-person solo event since the Wilmington victory celebration on Nov. 7.

The following is from Danielle Tenconi, Vice President of marketing and communications for Operation Gratitude https://www.operationgratitude.com

Today is part of a multi-day effort in DC and Los Angeles to pack a total of 20,000 packages. It is the last day of packing in DC. Each package contains snacks, candy, 10 handwritten letters of gratitude, and hand-knitted scarfs from more than 1 million volunteers nationwide.

There are three rows of tables with cardboard cartons with the Operation Gratitude logo.

***

Volunteers are taking items from the big boxes on the tables and putting them in smaller boxes—the care packages

Still awaiting Dr. Biden and Secretary-designate Austin.

***

Dr, Biden and Secretary-designate Austin walked in to the main hall of the Armory at about 1:15.

Dr. Biden is wearing a jacket and skirt, Austin a dark suit and open-collared dress shirt. Both are masked.

They walked straight to the middle row of tables where a volunteer appears to be instructing Dr. Biden on the packing; Austin is off to the side listening.

Your pool is too far away to hear any of the conversation.

There are little more than a dozen Operation Gratitude volunteers and about a dozen members of the DC National Guard in battle dress uniform, commonly referred to as camouflage.

***

Dr. Biden has now donned what look to be blue nitrile gives and is moving down the line of large boxes, taking items out and putting them in a smaller box, assembly line style. At the mid point of the table, she hands off to Austin and starts again.

We can’t hear talk, but occasionally hear Dr. Biden and Austin laughing.

***

Asked if she had a message for the American people during this pandemic holiday, she said she wanted Americans to commit to one act of kindness — supporting the troops or helping those facing food insecurity.

She was also asked for her reaction to news of Hunter Biden’s tax investigation— at which point the wranglers stepped in front of cameras and shooed us away.

She was showing the pool socks she was packing. Other items that Dr. Biden was packing, according to the Operation Gratitude folks: Candy (jelly beans, Skittles), and coffee (a pound of Starbucks grounds).

***

Dr. Biden addressed the volunteers in a socially distanced way (they were seated in the stands, she stood on the floor) and posed for a properly distanced group photo. We couldn’t make out her remarks. Austin added: “God bless you, God bless your families.”

***

Dr. Biden also addressed members of the DC National Guard before exiting at about 2:10, spending about an hour here.

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The latest news about the historic transfer of power. Your first stop for the daily updates about President-elect Joe Biden and the next administration.

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