Post 88 receives $5K from Ocean State Power, launches drive for tornado victims

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BURRILLVILLE – From a Toy for Tots drive collecting gifts for families in need, to ongoing help for local veterans, to a new effort to collect supplies for tornado victims in Kentucky, members of Berard Desjarlais American Legion Post 88 have been busy in recent weeks.

And the club’s charitable efforts received a major boost this week with a donation of $5,000 from Ocean State Power.

Post Commander Raymond Trinque said the contribution, part of a new initiative from the Burrillville-based power company, came as a surprise, and he is not yet sure how the organization will spend the funding.

“We’re not in a rush. We’re going to have a meeting and we’re gonna talk about it. I do feel we’re gonna share with others and a lot of the groups that we connect with,” said Trinque. “We will definitely be sharing with our partners and we’re gonna put the rest towards a good cause.”

With the funding arriving at a undeniably busy time for the post, it is clear they’ll have many great causes to choose from.

American Legion Berard-Desjarlais Post 88 members Linda Peck and Donna Hamelin stand among the piles of toys collected Saturday.

Saturday, Dec. 11, the group held their annual Toys for Tots drive, collecting piles of new gifts for families in need, along with canned goods for local pantries, and clothes and toiletries for the Rhode Island Veterans Home. The post’s monthly Coffee for Veterans event, where members help former military access VA benefits and other local resources, was held Tuesday morning. And the organization just announced a drive to collect needed items for tornado victims in Kentucky.

The drive, which begins today, Tuesday, Dec. 14, will see members collecting non perishable foods and drinks, water, toiletries, blankets, new cloths, bedding, coats, bleach, mold cleaning products, toilet paper, generators and other items to help those devastated by the storm, which flattened several towns over the weekend, killing at least 74 people.

“We are sending a tractor trailer truck down to Kentucky with [supplies,] to our Veteran brothers and sisters impacted by this tragedy,” said Trinque. “Any donations or ideas are welcome. This is moving fast.”

Trinque added that the post is also in need of a truck to deliver the items. If needed, he said the group is prepared to ship product via U-Haul and other means, which would cost an estimated $1,500. He said he has reached out to local trucking companies for trucks that will travel from Rhode Island to Kentucky.

“Our members prepared to ship and/or rent or drive trucks ourselves,” he said.

Anyone who would like to contribute to the drive should contact Trinque at (401) 651-5634 or raytrank101@cox.net. A GoFundMe page set up for donations to purchase additional supplies had collected $1,010 as of Wednesday morning.

The post will also be accepting in-person donations Wednesday, Dec. 15 and Thursday, Dec. 16 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Binns building at 111 Chapel St. in Harrisville.

UPDATE: Post 88 has announced additional drop off hours this weekend on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Items still needed as of Friday, Dec. 17 include flashlights batteries, blue tarps, bungee cords, coolers, gloves and work gloves.

“We have enough cloths and water,” said Trinque.

The drive for tornado victims is already underway.
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