WARWICK, R.I. – Today, Lt. Governor Dan McKee launched the 16th Annual Operation Holiday Cheer by announcing a new partnership with Operation Stand Down Rhode Island (OSDRI) that will allow the program to spread cheer to Rhode Island veterans for the first time.
Operation Holiday Cheer is a seasonal initiative to ship care packages to Rhode Island service men and women who are away from home during the holidays. Each year, contributions are collected from across the state, and dozens of volunteers help assemble the packages for shipment on a single weekend in November.
Recent confirmation of a decrease in the number of Rhode Island deployments this holiday season prompted the Lt. Governor's Office to partner with OSDRI to put extra donations to good use.
OSDRI, a local non-profit dedicated to helping veterans with housing, employment and education, will distribute a portion of this year's Operation Holiday Cheer care packages to their network of Rhode Island veterans.
"Our team was thrilled to hear that more Rhode Island troops will be home for the holidays than in any other year since we took over this program four years ago. This news provided us a new opportunity to partner with Operation Stand Down and give back to our veterans," said Lt. Governor McKee. "I am incredibly thankful to our corporate donors who, after learning the number of local deployments decreased, stepped up to support the expansion of this program to our veteran community."
Donations of goods from the public will be accepted and sorted at the National Guard Armory at 541 Airport Road in Warwick on Saturday, November 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Volunteers will assemble packages on Sunday, November 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., also at the Armory. To see the Troops' Wish List, make a monetary donation, or volunteer, visit www.ltgov.ri.gov/ohc.
Operation Holiday Cheer is organized by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor in partnership with the Rhode Island National Guard's Family Assistance Center, the U.S. Postal Service Providence Branch and the Rhode Island chapter of the American Red Cross.
This program relies entirely on the generosity of individuals and corporate and community sponsors. This year's supporters include American Red Cross, RI Chapter, Amica Mutual Insurance Company, BankNewport, Bank RI, Banneker Industries, Blue Star Moms, City of Warwick, CVS Health, Dels Lemonade, Dunkin' Donuts, Finlay Extracts & Ingredients, General Dynamics Electric Boat, Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England, Hasbro, The Home Depot, Local 57 Operating Engineers, National Grid, Navigant Credit Union, New England Patriots, Ocean State Job Lot, Pawtucket Red Sox, Rhode Island Resource Recovery, Stop & Shop and U.S. Postal Service Providence Branch.