The Marine Corps. ball saw a lot of celebrities this year, but next year’s ball will also have a guest its never had before: the First Lady! Michelle Obama accepted a marine’s invitation to the ball earlier today when she dropped off hundreds of gifts to the Toys for Tots drive. More details after the jump!

Wendy L.


Michelle Obama dropped off hundreds of Christmas gifts to the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign and in return received a surprise invitation from a soldier to be his date to the Marine Corps Ball.

Lance Cpl. Aaron Leeks, 20, said he asked the first lady to accompany him because he’s a fan and admires her work to support the military.

When Obama was sorting toys at the charity event and came close to Leeks of Frederick, he took the opportunity and leaned over a toy bin to get her attention and pop the question.

The first lady smiled and called over a staff member as she chatted with Leeks to get his details.

‘She said she’d love to go,’ Leeks said. ‘Actually, she said I’d need to speak to her husband, too, but she said she’d love to.’

Leeks said he plans to follow up his invitation ahead of the ball next year. 

In January, he will be deployed for the first time to Afghanistan but plans to attend the ball when he returns next year.

Later at the White House, Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked whether the president would consider such an offer.

Carney said that may be the first the president was hearing about this.

‘The first lady’s commitment to military families is very strong, indeed,’ he said. ‘So I’m sure she was flattered by the invitation.’

This is not the first time marines have asked out high profile celebrities, last month Mila Kunis agreed to attend the ball with Sgt Scott Moore after he asked her in a You Tube clip.

Kristin Cavallari also attended the ball with Lance Cpl. Jonathan Burkett while Justin Timberlake was the date of female marine Cpl. Kelsey de Santis.

However, the First Lady’s invitation was the first time a service member had managed to ask a celebrity in person.

Obama has supported the Toys for Tots campaign for the last three years and urges White House staff to buy gifts to donate.

‘It’s still important to nudge our neighbors to give, give, give. We need people to bring in toys like never before.’

Millions of families rely on such gifts to make the holidays special for their children, she said.

She hauled in a big red bag of toys, slung over her shoulder to the Washington military base Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.

She helped sort toys into bins marked for boy and girls by age group.

For people who are doing well this year, ‘it’s up to us to dig deep and to make sure we take care of our neighbors out there who may be struggling,’ she said.

Organisers said the toys will be distributed to needy children in the Washington area.

Obama said her daughter Malia was impressed to learn that Toys for Tots was started by the Marines.

‘You all have given so much to our country, as Malia has recognized, and you just keep giving more,’ Obama said.

Retired Marine Gen. Pete Osman, president and CEO of Quantico, Va.-based Toys for Tots, said Obama is their “No. 1 volunteer,” and he called her commitment to military families “incredible.”

‘It sends a big signal to the military,” he said of Obama’s support. “When you’ve got someone like the first lady behind you, how can you go wrong?’

The charity’s challenge this year, though, is rising demand as people are still suffering because of the economy, he said. The group has increased the number of toy drives nationwide this year to 730.

The event was Michelle Obama’s last holiday stop in Washington.

Later today she and her daughters Malia and Sasha are  scheduled to depart for their annual holiday trip to see family in Hawaii.