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SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — With snow on the ground and below-freezing temperatures serving as proof of winter’s arrival, a special event this weekend will help give veterans some protection from the cold.

The Coats4Vets program will distribute new winter coats to area veterans on Saturday afternoon at Wakefield Elementary School.

It’s a collaboration between the USA Veterans and Military Support Foundation and the Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation.

USA Veterans and Military Support Foundation President and CEO Don Cox praised the Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation. It has supported numerous causes including feeding the hungry, helping the homeless, assisting veterans and military families, aiding animal rescue, caring for children, advancing healthcare, supporting the arts and promoting learning.

“From supplying coats and Christmas gifts in the winter, to food and other resources during the government shutdown and the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re always there for us and we’re thrilled to have them as a partner,” Cox said.

Locally, Operation Connect R.I., which includes the University of Rhode Island Office of Veteran Affairs and Military Programs, the Rhode Island College Military Resource Center, local VFW Post 916 and others, are involved.

The coat giveaway is for needy veterans, and there’s a registration procedure for those who want a coat.

To register, go to the website https://usavmsf.org/ and click the registration link for Coats4Vets.

Registration is required. Anyone who needs assistance with registration also can call VFW Post 916 at (401) 789-0150.

Participants should complete the form on the web site, and they then will be provided with specific instructions about hours of operation and procedures for safe pick-up in a confirmation e-mail.

Staff members and volunteers will follow strict procedures to ensure health and wellness for all involved.  

Ocean State Job Lot’s partnership and support of USA Veterans and Military Support Foundation spans many years and projects, starting with Coats4Vets. Since then, Ocean State Job Lot has helped to fund projects supplying boots to veterans and active-duty military members, as well as backpacks, school supplies and holiday presents to their families.

“Ocean State Job lot has partnered with the active-duty military and veteran populations for years,” Executive Director of the Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation David Sarlitto said. “We’ve found USA Veterans and Military Support Foundation to be highly effective and efficient in supporting our military communities throughout New England and the Northeast.”

Ocean State Job Lot also has provided approximately $1 million in in-kind support for veterans across the northeastern United States during the COVID-19 pandemic.

USA Veterans and Military Support Foundation was founded by Cox. He leads a small team of regulars and many volunteers who are committed to helping veterans and active-duty military families in need. Many volunteers are veterans, representing each branch of the United States military.

The organization grew from successful regional nonprofits that proved to be vital during the federal government shutdown of 2018-19, and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is a non-profit organization with the mission to provide programs, services and goods to help satisfy critical needs and enhance the well-being and quality of life for veterans and active-duty military and their families.

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