Sending cheer overseas to Rhode Island’s troops at holidays

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — For the fourteenth year in a row, the office of Lt. Governor Daniel McKee has kicked off its program to send care packages to servicemen and women who are away from home during the holidays, “Operation Holiday Cheer.”

“The holidays can be a difficult time to be away from home,” said McKee at the kickoff Tuesday at the National Guard Armory in Warwick. “This initiative is designed to bring our troops some cheer, just like the name says.”

With donations from the public, the program sends boxes of necessities and gifts to Rhode Islanders stationed or deployed outside of the state.

If you’d like to donate gifts, the wish list includes boxed snacks, gift cards and DVDs, but includes restrictions. Go to the Lieutenant Governor’s website for the exact list.

Donations can be dropped off at the Warwick Armory on Airport Road on Saturday, November 19, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. The boxes will then packed up and shipped the next day.

Monetary donations can also be made online to the American Red Cross’s Rhode Island chapter.

The annual drive — launched in 2001 by Eyewitness News analyst, then-Lt. Gen. Reginald Centracchio of the Rhode Island National Guard, and then-lieutenant governor Charles Fogarty — is conducted by the National Guard’s Family Assistance Center, the Office of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Postal Service based in Providence and the Red Cross.