Veterans to benefit from Operation Holiday Cheer as well as deployed

Operation Holiday Cheer

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Fewer service members from Rhode Island are deployed overseas this year, and veterans in the state will now share in the bounty of care packages donated by the public.

2018 marks the 16th year of the giving campaign “Operation Holiday Cheer,” which collects flavors of home and other items needed by troops in the field but are hard to come by. Boxed up in care packages by volunteers, they’re sent overseas to members of the military: snacks, gift cards, batteries, personal care items. In the past, 500 packages have been sent out each year.

But at Monday’s kickoff event, Lt. Gov. Dan McKee, whose office has overseen the campaign since 2001, said they’re starting a new partnership with Operation Stand Down Rhode Island, which assists veterans in the state with housing, employment and education. Fewer deployments mean a surplus of donations. Therefore, the surplus will be distributed to veterans in-state.

Donations this year will be collected on Saturday, Nov. 17,  from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the National Guard Armory at 541 Airport Road. The next day, volunteers will assemble the packages there.

The list of needs this year includes travel-size personal care products (toothpaste, hand sanitizer, shampoo/conditioners/shower gels), as well as baby wipes, beef jerky, packaged cookies (not homemade), crossword puzzles and headlamps. Banned items include aerosols, glass containers, books and chocolate (which melts). The full list can be found on the Lieutenant Governor’s office website, or at the bottom of this page.

Monetary donations can be sent to the American Red Cross, 105 Gano St., Providence, RI 02906; please write “Operation Holiday Cheer” in the note section of your check. 

Operation Holiday Cheer was launched in 2001 by Eyewitness News analyst Lt. Gen. (ret.) Reginald Centracchio of the Rhode Island National Guard, and then-lieutenant governor Charles Fogarty. The U.S. Postal Service, the American Red Cross and the Office of Veterans Affairs are among the organizations supporting the effort.


Please DON’T Bring

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

Please DO Bring

  • Individual Powdered Drink Mix
  • Beef Jerky (no pork)
  • Cookies (no homemade)
  • Boxed Crackers
  • Peanut Butter (16oz)
  • Trail Mix
  • Granola Bars
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Chewing Gum
  • Moist Towelettes, Baby Wipes (Individual Containers)
  • Tissues
  • DVDs
  • Crossword Puzzles
  • Batteries (AA & AAA only)
  • Head Lamps
  • Playing Cards, Card Games
  • Socks
  • Feminine Products
  • Zip Lock Bags (sm & lg)
  • Toothbrush

and Travel Sizes of the Following:

Hand Sanitizer
Foot Powder
Hand & Body Lotion
Shower Gel
Shaving Items

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