The Kiwanis Club of St. Johnsbury announced today that it has adopting Operation Holiday Cheer to provide a holiday gift to the children of military families in Vermont. Launched in 2007 by the Kiwanis Clubs of Maine, Operation Holiday Cheer (OHC) was founded to provide a holiday gift to the children of military families in Maine. According to Marc Badeau, the National Chairman of Operation Holiday Cheer, This effort extended beyond personal ideology – regardless of one’s beliefs about the war, everyone agrees that these children deserve our show of appreciate and support when their moms and dads are away or are haunted by the ever-present specter of deployment. The program is not a needs-based program but one of appreciation to the children of military families for their sacrifice. This program is the ideal manner that a grateful nation can show its support for the military without moral conflict – the program transcends the debate of our role in the Middle East and recognizes the forgotten heroes of this conflict.According to Badeau, the program resulted in the distribution of over 8,000 gifts to over 140 cities and towns in the state of Maine. OHC has been commended with a Joint Resolution from the Senate and the House and has received a Citation of Merit from the Department of Defense. OHC was also recognized in the US Congressional Record for its program, which is the first time in the over 90 year history of Kiwanis. Given the success of the program, OHC is expanding this year to include the children of military families living in New England and New York. Badeau sought the assistance of the Kiwanis Clubs of Vermont and did not look long before the Kiwanis Club of St. Johnsbury quickly volunteered to spearhead the effort. Says Krystina McMorrow, Vermont Chairman of Operation Holiday Cheer and member of the Kiwanis Club of St. Johnsbury, This program melds the Kiwanis concept of helping children in our communities with our members firm belief that the children of military families need the comfort of knowing that, we, the citizens of Vermont, stand proudly besides them during these difficult times.With over 4,500 children in Vermont that have a parent serving in the military during the holidays, this program will have a significant impact on the lives of a large number of children that have always suffered in silence and asked for nothing. says McMorrow. Military families can register for the program on the official website (www.KiwanisOperationHolidayCheer.org(link is external)) or can call the main office at (207) 221-0296. Gifts are delivered on a first-come, first-served basis based upon the amount of funds raised. Extensive corporate sponsorship opportunities are available including company recognition in each of the packages and newsletters. Individual donations are also being sought with name recognition of the donors on the OHC website (www.KiwanisOperationHolidayCheer.org(link is external)). Any donations raised will be used solely to assist the families living in Vermont. Says McMorrow, In its first year of operations, OHC was able to deliver a holiday gift to EVERY child of a military family living in Maine that requested one. I am confident that the people of Vermont will also donate generously to ensure that no child that requests a gift is refused one due to lack of funds. The time for bumper sticker slogans is over – it is time for us to show meaningful support to our troops and their families.