Michelle Obama Garden Harvest 2013: Hurricane Sandy-Battered School Kids Join First Lady To Gather Summer Veggies (VIDEO)

05/29/2013 02:04 pm ET | Updated May 29, 2013

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April showers brought more than May flowers for first lady, Michelle Obama and a group of elementary school children from two New Jersey schools seriously damaged by Hurricane Sandy, Monday.

Students from Union Beach Memorial School in Union Beach, N.J., and Long Beach Island Grade School in Ship Bottom, N.J., joined Obama to harvest crops, such as lettuce and broccoli, planted in the White House garden in April.

"One of the reasons why we wanted to invite you guys is I understand that given all that you guys have been through," she said. "Many of your schools got damaged in Sandy, right? -- but despite that, you guys are still going to school every day, and you’re working on eating healthy ... And it hasn’t been that easy, but you guys have managed to get through the school year way on top of the game, and we’re just very proud of you," she added.

The children's visit to the White House coincided with President Obama's visit to their home state of New Jersey to highlight rebuilding efforts in coastal areas damaged during Hurricane Sandy last fall.

With Congress on spring recess, the trip offered Obama a chance to refocus public attention away from the controversies that have buffeted his administration of late, the Washington Post notes.

After gathering the vegetables, which also included radishes and kale, the students joined executive White House chef, Cris Comerford, and the White House chef crew to make whole-wheat pizzas and a salad, which they ate along with lemonade at picnic tables set up next to the garden on the South Lawn.

Check out Monday's garden party in the video above.

Earlier on HuffPost:

Michelle Obama Digs in the Dirt

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