The Stone Hill Elementary School community recently handed off many boxes of items for Operation Holiday Cheer to Jenn Ahrens, a Rhode Island Blue Star Mom. Blue Star Mothers currently have family members in active service in the military. Operation Holiday Cheer is a care package initiative for military personnel that was started by the Lt. Governor’s Office.
Committee chair and parent volunteer Christine Girmaldi-Field, faculty member and advisor to the Student Involvement Team, Gail DeRobbio, and Principal Tricia Totolo were all present as students helped Ahrens load box after box of snacks, toiletries and games into her car on a recent evening.
“We had a big commitment from Stone Hill School this year,” Ahrens said. “They really did an amazing job and had a huge turnout. This was a lot for the students to bring in. The kids were so excited about it, and that means the most to us.”
Principal Totolo was proud of her students, who have been getting involved in many community service projects in and around the school this year.
“They really take these projects and run with them,” she said.
Ahrens knows that the community service project will come full circle for some students who either have family members serving in the military or who will one day be serving themselves and receiving such packages while away from family and friends and their homes.
DeRobbio said that more than 70 third, fourth and fifth-grade students serve on the Student Involvement Team and look forward to the community service projects that are taken on, such as Operation Holiday Cheer.
For Ahrens, taking part in projects like this is what gets the family members of military service persons through the tough holiday seasons.
“They say that those that join the military are volunteers, but it’s their family members that get drafted,” she said. “It’s an emotional roller coaster for us, but our hearts just explode when we get to see a community like this one kick in and help out.”
For more information about Operation Holiday Cheer, visit ltgov.ri.gov/ohc.