Obama, George H.W. Bush to promote community service

Former President George H.W. Bush will return to the White House on Monday as a guest of President Obama for an event to honor the nonprofit volunteer organization Bush founded and to unveil a new White House initiative to promote community service.

Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush are scheduled to join Obama and first lady Michelle Obama to commemorate the 5,000th Point of Light Award. Bush established the honor in 1989; it is given daily to recognize an individual or group working to improve the world.

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Bush’s foundation has grown to include 4 million volunteers contributing more than 30 million hours of service a year, according to the White House.

The 5,000th award will go to Floyd Hammer and Kathy Hamilton, a retired Iowa couple who established a nonprofit that delivers free meals to starving children around the globe. Their group Outreach Inc. has helped distribute more than 232 million meals over the last nine years.

After joining Bush to present the award, Obama will announce the formation of a new task force made up of Cabinet agency officials to identify ways that public agencies and the private sector can partner in support of national service. 

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the White House Domestic Policy Council will oversee the effort, which is meant to build on Obama administration efforts to promote greater community service. 

The event isn’t the first collaboration between the two presidents. Bush served as one of 16 honorary co-chairs of Obama’s first Inauguration, at which he called for a national day of service to occur on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

Before Monday afternoon’s event, the Obamas and Bushes will dine together at the White House.

The two presidents were last together at the dedication of the library of former President George W. Bush in Dallas in April. 

Former President Bush’s son, Neil Bush, the chairman of Points of Light and the group’s CEO Michelle Nunn will attend the White House event. George W. Bush is not expected to attend.