Lt. gov. calls for donations to cheer RI troops during holidays

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WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — As the holiday season looms on the horizon, Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee is sending out a wish list — to give to a family of 500.

2017 marks the 15th year of Operation Holiday Cheer, the initiative that sends a taste of Rhode Island to service members deployed overseas during the holidays. At a launch event Tuesday morning at the Warwick National Guard Armory on Airport Road, McKee took aim at a goal of sending more than 500 care packages this year. With recent deployments of local service members, McKee figures this year will encompass the highest number of packages over recent years.

Launched in 2001 by Eyewitness News analyst, then-Lt. Gen. Reginald Centracchio of the Rhode Island National Guard, and then-lieutenant governor Charles Fogarty, the operation takes donations and contributions and assembles the packages during a single weekend in November. The U.S. Postal Service, the American Red Cross and the Office of Veterans Affairs are among the organizations supporting the effort, as well as a host of businesses from the New England Patriots to Del’s Lemonade.

Donors are encouraged to bring items like iTunes and Amazon gift cards, batteries, toiletries, card games and snacks, but should avoid items like boxed games, books, game balls, or canned goods. A full list is available at the bottom of this page.

Operation Holiday Cheer: Wish List » | Donate or Get Involved »

Donations will be accepted on Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Warwick National Guard Armory at 541 Airport Road, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Packages will then be assembled by volunteers at the Armory on Sunday, Nov. 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Full wish list from the Office of the Lieutenant Governor:Please DON’T Bring

  • Anything in glass
  • Anything aerosol
  • Books (hardcover or paperback)
  • Boxed games
  • Basketballs
  • Soccer balls
  • Volleyballs
  • Baseball or whiffle bats
  • Bulk items
  • Items over 16 oz.
  • Canned foods
  • Chocolate (it melts)
  • Religious Items

Please DO Bring

  • Powdered drink mix (Crystal Lite, etc.)
  • Beef jerky (no pork)
  • Cookies (no homemade)
  • Boxed crackers
  • Peanut Butter
  • Trail mix
  • Granola bars
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Nuts
  • Hard candy
  • Chewing gum
  • Moist towelettes, baby wipes (small or individual containers)
  • Fly strips
  • DVDs
  • iTunes gift cards
  • Amazon gift cards
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Batteries (AA & AAA only)
  • Headlamps (with headbands for reading)
  • Playing cards, card games
  • Socks
  • Toiletries
  • Feminine Products
  • Postcards of local scenes

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