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Lieutenant Governor Matos, former Lieutenant Governors, RI Blue Star Moms kick off 20th annual Operation Holiday Cheer Donation Drive for service members
PROVIDENCE, RI – Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos today kicked off the 20
Annual Operation Holiday Cheer Donation Drive, joined by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence), House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Samuel A. Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly), Senate Special Legislation & Veterans' Affairs Chairman Walter S. Felag (D-Dist. 10, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton), the three former Lieutenant Governors who led Rhode Island Operation Holiday Cheer—Governor Dan McKee and former Lieutenant Governors Charles Fogarty and Elizabeth Roberts—as well as by federal, state, and local leaders from across Rhode Island.
Both Chairman Azzinaro and Chairman Felag gave remarks at the event.
Operation Holiday Cheer is conducted by the Lieutenant Governor’s Office and made possible by the partnership and hard work of the RI Blue Star Moms, the RI National Guard, Operation Stand Down RI, the United States Postal Service, and the American Red Cross of RI, all of whom were present to announce the start of the 20
“The life that I have had since immigrating to this country has only been possible because of the sacrifices of our military, and I am glad to be able to give back through Operation Holiday Cheer,” said Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos, “I urge every Rhode Islander to get involved by donating goods or their time so that we can make this twentieth anniversary even more special for our troops. I’m grateful to have the honor of carrying on this holiday tradition, and to work with the dedicated community partners and family members who have kept it running for 20 years.”
“We know that there are Rhode Island service members away from their families right now and Operation Holiday Cheer is one small way that we can let them know we’re thinking about them and thanking them for their service,” said Governor Dan McKee. “So, Rhode Island – this is your call to action – we need donations and volunteers to make this year’s Operation Holiday Cheer the best one yet.”
Operation Holiday Cheer was started in 2002 by former Lieutenant Governor Fogarty and has been held annually since. The program supports servicemembers stationed away from home during the holidays by sending them care packages filled with Rhode Island goods.
“When my office organized the first Operation Holiday Cheer in 2002, we didn’t know that it would become an annual tradition; we were just looking for a way to show our troops our deep appreciation for their service. It’s thanks to the amazing work of our volunteers, community organizations and local businesses that it has become a mainstay of the holiday season at the State House,” said Charles Fogarty, Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island from 1999 to 2007. “I’m grateful for their efforts over the last two decades, and I am excited to see OHC grow to new heights in the years to come.”
"Honoring and supporting our active servicemembers and veterans is one of the greatest responsibilities of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. Operation Holiday Cheer brings together Rhode Islanders in a display of our deep appreciation for their service," said Elizabeth Roberts, Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island from 2007 to 2015. “I am proud to join the businesses and volunteers who are working as hard as ever to provide comfort to actively deployed Rhode Islanders."
Boxes will be packed at the US Army National Guard Armory in Warwick on October 29
. The RI Blue Star Moms need specific items to fill the boxes for our active military personnel. A complete list of items requested, as well as quantities needed, can be found here and below:
“The outpouring of support that our children receive as part of Operation Holiday Cheer is a crucial help during what is often a difficult time,” said Mary Grace Marceau, President Blue Star Moms. I cannot express deeply enough what a difference it makes to know that businesses, nonprofits, and everyday people are willing to give back to our loved ones, friends and sons and daughters, who are away during the holidays, serving our nation. I am already looking forward to packing boxes alongside other volunteers!”
The program relies on the generosity of individuals and corporate and community sponsors who provide in-kind or financial contributions, as well as volunteers who will help pack the boxes. Corporate sponsors and individuals wishing to donate goods, money, or time can visit
This year’s corporate donors include Adler, Pollock, & Sheehan, American Legion, Amica Mutual Insurance, Atlantic Paper & Supply, Blood Centers of America, Dave’s Marketplace, Del’s Lemonade, Duffy & Shanley, Dunkin’, Girl Scouts of Southern NE, Finlay Extracts & Ingredients, Massey & Associates, Operation: Made, Pilgrim Title Insurance Co., Saddlebags for Soldiers, Safety Flag Co. of America, The Home Depot, Thomas Engineering, Two Sisters Catering, and VFW Rhode Island. Operations support is provided by Combat Veteran Motorcycle Association and Local 57 Operating Engineers.
To ensure every servicemember stationed away from home gets a box, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor asks Rhode Islanders to share the names and addresses of friends or family members who are currently deployed. Please send them to Grace Sneesby in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor at 401-222-2371 or
For more information, contact:
, Director of Communications for the Senate
State House Room 112
Providence, RI 02903
Lt. Governor's Office
Secretary of State
Link to Public Records Request