News & Politics

White House Donates Dog Toys, Clothes, and Other Gifts It Received to DC Charities

A cheetah print necktie is among the standout donations.

Since Joe Biden took office, well-wishers have sent him mountains of books, blankets, masks, a cheetah print necktie, and so many dog toys (including a Nerf gun designed for playing fetch).

Unfortunately, you won’t spot the President wearing the tie at a press conference or Major chasing Nerf balls in the Rose Garden. Instead, the White House’s Office of Presidential Correspondence recently donated the gifts to four local charities.

Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, which provides foster care for pets, is one of those recipients. Executive Director Mirah Horowitz says it’s easier for the organization to receive food donations than food, even though having that mental stimulation is just as important as a good meal. Thanks to the White House, the rescue got two boxes filled to the brim with dog sweaters, bandanas, toys, leashes, and collars. A few cat care items also made their way into the mix, even though the Bidens don’t currently have a cat (though supposedly they will soon.)

“We live off of donations,” Horowitz says. “I think the foster families and the foster dogs are all going to be super excited.”

Meanwhile, Central Union Mission—a Christian non-profit serving those facing homelessness and poverty in DC—has a lengthy history of working with the White House, going back to Eleanor Roosevelt’s days as First Lady. President and CEO Joseph Mettimano says the Biden administration had reached out a few weeks ago before delivering eight boxes of clothes and masks. Prior to that, Central Union Mission received food through a program the Trump administration managed.

“​​The nice thing about the work we do is that, you know, it’s kind of neutral of all politics. Regardless of what your background is, or your political orientation, most folks care about the poor. So we’re just glad to be in a position where we can work with anybody who comes to us,” Mettimano says.

Mettimano says the clothes sent from the White House seemed used and mostly standard for what they receive from donated items. The quirky cheetah-print necktie caught the eye of Mettimano and his team, providing for a good laugh.

Two other organizations were also sent donations: the Goodwill of Greater Washington received about 24 boxes of goods, including books and household items, and the Sasha Bruce Youthwork acquired children’s books.

Though the White House has yet to disclose whether these donations will be a regular occurrence, Horowitz from Lucky Dog Animal Rescue is hopeful they continue. Not only are the items useful, but Horowitz says it’s meaningful for the family of the first rescue dog in the White House to also be making donations to local rescues. “It sets such a great example,” she says.

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Editorial Fellow

Melissa Santoyo joined Washingtonian in July 2021. She is a rising junior at Northwestern University studying journalism and art.