WARWICK, RI – Lt. Governor Daniel McKee today joined former Lt. Governor Charles Fogarty, Rhode Island Adjutant General Major Christopher Callahan, Rhode Island Blue Star Moms President Jennifer Ahrens and over 200 volunteers at the National Guard Armory in Warwick to assemble military care packages during the 17th Annual Operation Holiday Cheer.
"Operation Holiday Cheer gives Rhode Islanders an opportunity to show their gratitude to our men and women in uniform. We know the holiday season is one of the most difficult times for our service members to be away from their loved ones. Each year, we do our part to make this time of year a little brighter for those who give so much in service to our country," Lt. Governor McKee said.
Established in 2001 by then-Lt. Governor Charles Fogarty, Operation Holiday Cheer is an effort organized by the Lt. Governor's Office, Rhode Island National Guard, American Red Cross Rhode Island Chapter and the United States Postal Service to ship care packages to Rhode Island troops who are away from home during the holidays. After several months of fundraising and volunteer outreach, the operation culminates in a weekend-long event that brings hundreds of Rhode Islanders together to sort donations from the public and assemble the care packages.
Approximately 375 care packages will be shipped to Rhode Island troops stationed in other states and overseas. As part of a new effort launched in 2018 by Lt. Governor McKee, any extra donated items will be distributed to local veterans through Operation Stand Down Rhode Island.
Care packages contain nonperishable snacks, toiletries and reminders of home like Autocrat coffee syrup, packets of Del's Lemonade and a pound of Dunkin' Donuts coffee. Each package also includes stockings stuffed by Rhode Island Blue Star Moms and holiday cards from local students.
Operation Holiday Cheer relies on the generosity of individuals and corporate and community sponsors. This year's supporters include AAA Northeast, American Red Cross Rhode Island Chapter, Amica Mutual Insurance Company, Ann & Hope, BankNewport, BankRI, City of Warwick, CVS Health, Dave's Marketplace, Dunkin' Donuts, Finlay Extracts and Ingredients, General Dynamics Electric Boat, Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England, Hasbro, The Home Depot, iHeartMedia, Local 57 Operating Engineers, Minuteman Press Johnston, National Association of Letter Carriers, National Association of Postal Supervisors – Branch 105, The National Grid, Navigant Credit Union, New England Patriots, Pawtucket Red Sox, Portia Planning and Wealth Management, The Providence Journal, Rhode Island Blue Star Moms, Rhode Island Resource Recovery, Saddlebags for Soldiers, Safety Flag Company, Stop & Shop and the U.S. Postal Service.