12TH ANNUAL "OPERATION HOLIDAY CHEER" KICK-OFF
Lt. Gov. Roberts, Mayor Avedisian, General Petrarca Launch Care Package Initiative For RI Troops Abroad
PROVIDENCE- Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts today launched Operation Holiday Cheer 2014, joined by Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, Brigadier General Charles Petrarca of the Rhode Island National Guard and corporate/community sponsors at the National Guard Armory in Warwick. Operation Holiday Cheer relies completely on charitable donations of cash and wish list items to pack and ship 350 care packages for Rhode Island troops serving abroad at the holidays.
Chief Master Sergeant Gregory Houghton, RI Air National Guard, told of his experience receiving a care package while serving overseas last holiday season.
The event is organized by Lt. Governor Roberts' office in conjunction with the Rhode Island National Guard's Family Assistance Center, the U.S. Postal Service (Providence branch) and the American Red Cross/Rhode Island Chapter. Contributions are collected from across the state, and dozens of volunteers sign up to assemble the packages for shipment during a single weekend in November.
"What makes Operation Holiday Cheer so successful year after year is the deeply generous spirit of Rhode Islanders and corporate-community sponsors," Lt. Governor Roberts said. "For our troops abroad, this event gives us--and everyone who wishes to participate--the opportunity to express our deep appreciation for their service to our country. Spending time away from family and loved ones is difficult for our service men and women, and one can only imagine how much harder that must be during the holiday season. The very least we can do to show our appreciation is to send them care packages with reminders of home, and to let them know they are in our thoughts and prayers every day," she said.
Roberts announced donations from the general public will be accepted at the National Guard Armory, 541 Airport Road in Warwick on Saturday, November 22nd from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. Volunteers will assemble the care packages for shipping overseas with the help of the United States Postal Service on Sunday, November 23rd from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm also at the Armory. Volunteers must register online to participate at www.ltgov.ri.gov/ohc.
Operation Holiday Cheer includes a host of corporate and community sponsors, including: AAA Southern New England, AlphaGraphics, American Red Cross - RI Chapter, Amica Mutual Insurance Company, Bank of America, BankNewport, Banneker Industries, City of Warwick-Mayor's Office and Warwick Police Department, CVS Health, Del's Lemonade, Dunkin' Donuts, East Bay Newspapers, Hasbro, Home Depot, Local 57 Operating Engineers, National Grid, New England Patriots, Nortek, Ocean State Job Lot, Pawtucket Red Sox, Providence Journal, RI Resource Recovery Corp., US Postal Service/Providence. More sponsors are expected to sign on in coming weeks.
For Troops' Wish List, to volunteer, to submit a RI servicemember's name to receive a package and for more info, visit www.ltgov.ri.gov/ohc.
To make a donation, visit www.riredcross.org and click on Operation Holiday Cheer.
Checks may be sent and made payable to the American Red Cross RI Chapter/Operation Holiday Cheer, 105 Gano St., Providence, RI 02906.