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CAPE MAY - U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Cape May and the American Red Cross have partnered again for Operation Fireside this holiday season. 

For more than 35 years, Operation Fireside has provided recruits from the Training Center with a place to call home on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. 

According to a release, the recruits, who are away from home during the Coast Guard’s eight-week basic training, are matched by the Red Cross and the Training Center with local families who are willing to open their homes to recruits during the holidays.

“Every year volunteers from the local community provide safe homes and warm food to recruits that are separated from their families for the holidays,” stated Capt. Kathy Felger, commanding officer of the Training Center. “More than 90 local families will come to the training center and take more than 355 recruits home and give them a warm holiday meal, a break from the rigors of recruit training and most importantly, introducing them to the respect and affection the American public has for its service members.”

Those who want to learn more can contact the Red Cross Operation Fireside Program Coordinators by email at or by calling 609-562-3483. 

Host families will be added this year on a first-come, first-served basis.

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