"Do you want some risotto?"
With that, first lady Michelle Obama began scooping mushroom risotto to help serve lunch Thursday to some of the mostly homeless men and women who get free meals at a soup kitchen several blocks from the White House.
Her visit was designed to highlight the work of places like Miriam's Kitchen, as demand for their services have risen during the economic downturn, and her interest in community service, an issue she wants to focus on as first lady.
Mrs. Obama urged people to donate food and, if they can't afford that, then to just give a hand.
"There is a moment in time when each and every one of us needs a helping hand," she said after leaving the serving station. "Miriam's Kitchen has become a place where so many people have been able to find that helping hand."
"Their work here has meant the world to so many and it is an example of what we can do as a country and as a community to help folks when they're down," Mrs. Obama said. "Helping is an easy thing to do."