Progress made in OSDRI drive, but donations still needed


An army of sorts was needed to make a special delivery Monday.

So, members of the Johnston Fire and Police departments, as well as town of Johnston Local 808, banded together to take an extraordinary collection of nonperishable food items to Operation Stand Down Rhode Island’s headquarters at 1010 Hartford Ave.

There were boxes upon boxes of food and toiletries that will be used to help restock the nearly bare cupboards. Despite the reinforcements coming together to make Monday’s drop-off, the shelves aren’t yet full and OSDRI is still in need of help.

Perhaps that’s why Kelly Abbruzzese and Valerie Laurito, who work at Johnston Town Hall, declared Monday: “We really appreciate everyone who has helped out during this urgent drive the last couple of weeks, but we want and need to emphasize our plan is to keep collecting donations for our veterans all year long.”

Fire and police officials offered their congratulations during Monday’s special delivery and issued a reminder that people can still donate non-perishable foods and toiletry items at Johnston Town Hall.

“We are so thankful for the huge success of the Operation Stand Down food and toiletry drive,” said Abbruzzese, who works in the finance department. “We especially want to thank Mayor [Joseph] Polisena for his donation of Price Rite gift cards and the farmers market vouchers that will go a long way to help our veterans.”

Likewise, Laurito added: “We would also like to thank Doug Jeffrey, the mayor’s chief of staff, for his generous donation … and the countless Johnston residents, even nonresidents and friends, who made the special trip to Johnston to make their donations.”

Abbruzzese said members of the firefighters Local 1950 and police Local 307 collected a large portion of the nonperishable foods that were boxed, along with the countless toiletry items that were delivered during the heart-warming trip to Operation Stand Down headquarters.

“Please, let’s not be satisfied with the recent success,” Abbruzzese and Laurito said. “Let’s keep the momentum going and the food coming in record numbers.”

Food items that Laurito and Abbruzzese hope will continue flowing into Town Hall and filling more and more big boxes include cereal, juice, canned meat, dry and canned soup, canned fruit, oatmeal, rice, applesauce, jelly and jam, canned and instant potatoes, macaroni and cheese, canned dinners, snack items, instant noodles and tomato sauce.

The toiletries list includes shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, mouthwash, floss, razors, shaving gel, bar soap, Q-tips and sunscreen.

People can drop off items at Johnston Town Hall during regular business hours, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 1


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