WASHINGTON — Melania Trump highlighted the spirit of giving Tuesday by sorting toys and making Christmas cards for an annual toy drive held by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.

The first lady said she had been looking forward to the Toys for Tots event all year. The charity collects new toys and distributes them to needy children at Christmas.

"I have been looking forward to this event ever since last year's ended," Mrs. Trump said. "As a mother, I feel children are the most precious gift of all. They provide so much joy in life." She added that her "mission" as first lady is to "shine a light" on programs that provide children with opportunities to succeed.

"I believe in the good work that Toys for Tots is doing," the first lady said.

Dozens of children from military families joined her at a Washington-area military base to sort scores of toys, including dolls, cars, games, stuffed animals and other gifts into boxes labeled "Girls" and "Boys." The job lasted a few minutes and then everyone sat down to make Christmas cards.

The first lady was seen drawing a snowman on her piece of construction paper.

"Don't forget the carrot," she told a girl.

The White House said Mrs. Trump was donating 100 books to a companion Toys for Tots literacy program. She also gave the children coloring books and White House candies stashed inside white tote bags labeled “Be Best” — the name of her child welfare initiative — and delivered by Santa Claus.

Retired Lt. Gen. Henry Osman, president and CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, said there's greater demand for toys this year after the devastating California wildfires and hurricanes in Florida and the Carolinas. Osman said the foundation would meet the demand through the generosity of the American people and the work of the Marines and their thousands of volunteers.

He called the first lady "our No. 1 volunteer."

“What a champ she has been,” Osman said.

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