Volunteers wrap up gifts for Rhode Island troops

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Lt. Governor Daniel J. McKee and Brigadier General Christopher P. Callahan joined more than 100 volunteers at the Rhode Island National Guard Armory in Warwick on Sunday to wrap up Operation Holiday Cheer, a weekend-long event that sends care packages to Rhode Island troops who are away from home during the holidays.

The operation began on Saturday when hundreds of donations were dropped off and sorted by volunteers at the armory. On Sunday, Kasim Yarn, Director of Veterans Affairs, joined McKee and Callahan to lead volunteers in assembling 400 care packages. Each package includes necessities like toiletries and tube socks as well as special reminders of home like Autocrat Coffee Syrup, a pound of Dunkin Donuts coffee and packs of Del’s Lemonade. Troops will also receive stockings stuffed by Rhode Island Blue Star Moms and holiday cards from students across the state.

“Operation Holiday Cheer brings Rhode Islanders together. From combat veterans to boy scouts, we have people who have been volunteering for seven years and some who joined us for the first time this weekend,” said McKee. “It is inspiring to see our state standing by the men and women who do so much for us each and every day. I am proud to carry on this tradition, and I wish all Rhode Island troops and their families a safe and happy holiday season.”

Operation Holiday Cheer is made possible through the generous support of sponsors, including AAA Southern New England, AlphaGraphics, American Red Cross, AmicaMutual Insurance Company, Bank Newport, Bank of America, Blue Star Moms, City of Warwick, CVS Health, Dels Lemonade, Dunkin Donuts, Electric Boat, Finlay Extracts & Ingredients, Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England, Gold Star Moms, Hasbro, The Home Depot, Local 57 Operating Engineers, National Grid, The New England Patriots, Ocean State Job Lot, The Pawtucket Red Sox, The Providence Journal, Rhode Island National Guard Family Assistance Center, Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation, Stop & Shop, The U.S. Postal Service Providence, The Valley Breeze, Walmart and The Washington Trust Company.

Operation Holiday Cheer was launched 14 years ago by then-Lt. Governor Charles Fogarty. Each year, the event is hosted by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, the Rhode Island National Guards Family Assistance Center, the Office of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Postal Service Providence Branch and the Rhode Island Red Cross.

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