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First lady urges kindness during holiday clouded by pandemic

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

First lady Melania Trump offers hand sanitizer to a child as she participates in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve's Toys for Tots Drive at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON – Melania Trump is encouraging people to perform small acts of kindness to help lift the spirits of others who are feeling blue during the pandemic-tinged holiday season.

During an appearance Tuesday at the Marine Toys for Tots annual toy drive, the first lady noted that many people won't spend time with loved ones during the holidays because of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 285,000 Americans and sickened over 15 million in the U.S.

“This year more than ever, it is important for us to all remember to be kind this holiday season,” she said, adding that “small acts of kindness,” like calling friends and neighbors or delivering homemade holiday cards to nursing homes, "can go a long way in spreading cheer and helping those struggling with change."

Invoking the name of her youth initiative, the first lady added: “Let's all do our part to ‘Be Best’ in these difficult times.”

She thanked the Marine Toys for Tots program for decades of work to make sure children have presents to open on Christmas. She also thanked men and women serving in the U.S. military who won't be with their families at the holidays because they are stationed overseas.

After her remarks, the first lady put on a face mask and helped dozens of children who participated in the event sort a variety of toys into separate boxes labeled for boys and girls. She also sat with groups of children at tables as they made Christmas cards, and later gave out bags printed with the “Be Best” logo.