Operation Holiday Cheer gets underway

It was like Santa's workshop on Saturday at the National Guard Armory in Warwick.

Volunteers were collecting and sorting donations that will be sent to RI troops serving overseas. One of those volunteers was John Welch, an employee of Home Depot, he talked to NBC 10 about what these donations mean to the troops, "they are just missing their families so much, it really touches my heart, it's the smallest thing we could do for them while they're sacrificing so much"

Some have very personal reasons to be here, like the Blue Star Moms, who are Mothers of military personnel.

This year they are adding something special to the care packages: good old fashioned stockings stuffed with goodies.

Rhonda Ziehl is a Blue Star Mom, she told NBC 10 "through operation Santa, they made over four hundred stockings, so we're putting the candy into the stockings. We'll put them into the box with the travel pillows and the cards that we did."

And they're putting more than items into these care packages a mother's love goes into each one, because as the Blue Star Moms said "nobody understands what we go through like a mom, it's very different when you have a child in the military"

This is the 11th year for Operation Holiday Cheer, and they are putting together 350 care packages, down from the 500 they had to put together just three years ago.

That means fewer service men and women are separated from their families.

But for those who are these packages will hopefully bring them a taste of the one thing they miss most.

Volunteers will help fill and then ship the packages on Sunday.