First lady spreads Easter cheer to workers during pandemic

Politics

Wooden Easter eggs sit in a box at the White House waiting to be delivered to organizations in the area Wednesday, April 8, 2020, in Washington. With the annual White House Easter Egg Roll canceled due to concerns about large gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic, first lady Melania Trump is giving 25,000 commemorative Easter eggs to area children’s hospitals, federal agencies, aid groups and grocery store chains. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Melania Trump is spreading some colorful Easter cheer to workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

With the annual White House Easter Egg Roll canceled due to concerns about large gatherings, the first lady is giving 25,000 commemorative wooden eggs to area children’s hospitals, federal agencies, aid groups and grocery store chains.

The pastel-colored eggs would have been handed out to participants in the egg roll on April 13, the day after Easter.

The eggs are being delivered Wednesday and Thursday to Children’s National Hospital, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services, the American Red Cross and local grocery store chains as a “small token of appreciation” for those serving the public, her office said.

Stewart McLaurin, president of the White House Historical Association, said this year’s eggs, made by Maine Wood Concepts, “are particularly unique.”

“They’ll be collector’s items,” he said. “They’re for an event that will never take place.”

The Easter Egg Roll has been canceled only 17 times since the event started in 1878. Those cancellations were because of wars, White House renovations, bad weather — and now a pandemic, he said.

Earlier Wednesday, the first lady released a brief video message thanking medical professionals and others on the front lines of the response to the virus.

“It is because of you that the people of America are receiving the care and treatment they need,” she says in the video on behalf of herself and President Donald Trump. “We stand united with you and we salute your courageous and compassionate efforts. Our prayers are with all who are fighting this invisible enemy, COVID-19.”

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AP Writer David Sharp in Portland, Maine, contributed to this report.

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Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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