Tuesday, December 23, 2008

President Bush delivered coats Monday for the needy and encouraged people to find ways to give time and other resources during the holidays.

The president and his wife, Laura, brought about 150 coats to a D.C. distribution center for the One Warm Coat Holiday Service Project, a national drive to collect warm outerwear for the less fortunate.

The delivered coats were collected at the White House last week and donated by staffers.

Mr. Bush called the project a “great example of how a single citizen and eventually a group of citizens can make a difference, a positive difference.”

“Laura and I are here with the mayor and other volunteers who are just trying to make a difference in one person’s life,” said Mr. Bush, who was joined by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. “If you want to serve your nation, you can find a lot of ways to serve.”

The Bushes entered the small room at the nonprofit Pathways to Housing D.C. each armed with a couple of coats. Aides carried the rest and added them to the stacks of coats on tables lining the room.

One Warm Coat began in 1992 as a Thanksgiving Weekend coat drive in San Francisco and has since grown to roughly 1,800 coat drives and more than 450 distribution centers in the 50 states. Pathways to Housing D.C. is one of the distribution agencies, and provides housing and voluntary services to homeless people with mental illnesses.

Mr. Bush then visited with soldiers recovering from injuries suffered in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Army’s top treatment center for wounded military personnel. His time with troops, as always, was kept private.

Mr. Bush frequently visits Walter Reed and other military hospitals.

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