"The upstairs temporary shelter is in need of a renovation," Presidential Inauguration Committee Communications Director Josh Earnest said in a statement. "Currently, it has the feel of an orphanage or hospital. The goal is to transform it into a space that encourages positive attitudes, social activity and awareness by installing curtains, energy-efficient light fixtures and desk assembly, and painting walls and lockers."
Mr. Obama said during his service that "everybody's going to have to pitch in" during the economic crisis, as the Associated Press reports, adding that there can't be "idle hands" at a time like this.
Though the event inevitably had the feel of a photo-op, Mr. Obama tried to get some real work done. At one point, after painting a wall with a roller, Mr. Obama said, "I think I've got this wall covered."
UPDATE: The AP reports that Michelle Obama, her daughters, and Jill Biden helped assemble care packages for U.S. troops as part of today's day of service. They did the work at RFK Stadium in Washington.