WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Several local community organizations took part in the 20th annual Operation Holiday Cheer event on Sunday.

Volunteers from around Southern New England spent the day putting together care packages for Rhode Island military service members currently serving outside of the state.

“They know that we’re thinking about them and we are so grateful for everything that they have been doing to make sure that the state of Rhode Island,the United States is a free country,” said Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos, who was joined by several volunteers, including Colonel Sharon Harmon from the Rhode Island National Guard. 

“When I was over in Afghanistan, and I received a package, I felt like the people back home were thinking of us and that made us feel more comfortable,” Col. Harmon said.

The care packages that were sent out Sunday contained Dunkin’ coffee, Del’s Lemonade, candy, different games and various foods.

The packages also contained holiday cards from local elementary, middle and high school students.

“What really touched home were the letters and cards from all the children here in Rhode Island,” said Mary Grace Marceau, President of the Rhode Island Blue Star Mom.

Marceau says her son is currently serving in Afghanistan and is in his 8th year of service. She spoke about what this event means to her as the mother of an active military service member. 

“It’s amazing to see the outpouring of support, it just really hits your heart,” said Marceau. 

According to the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, around 350 care packages were assembled and shipped during the weekend.