COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, wore Santa hats and marched with rucksacks bursting with donations from Dorchester Park to the Marian House Soup Kitchen, Dec. 12.
The brigade has conducted "Operation Happy Holidays," annually for the past four years.
"Today is about giving. Today is about Soldiering and showing what we do," said Command Sgt. Maj. Edison Rebuck, command sergeant major, 1st SBCT, 4th Inf. Div. "We are members of this community and we'll continue to reach out and build a bond with this community."
The Soldiers delivered clothes, gloves, mittens hats, scarves, toys, blankets, and non-perishable food items once they completed the two-mile charity march.
"I have a ruck sack full of clothes," said Pvt. Derrick Peters, health care specialist, Company C, 4th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st SBCT, 4th Inf. Div. "I'm out here to give charity to the people that need it more than I do."
Christle Waite, a Colorado Springs resident, waited at the Marian House Soup Kitchen since 6 a.m. with her 1-year-old son.
"Being a single parent is hard and the donations are heaven sent," said Waite. "Soldiers are showing they care and helping us out."
Clients were able to pick as much as they needed from the donation tables.
"I picked out shoes for myself; I don't have any. I also got some cloths to stay warm because I live outside," said Nancy Martinez, a homeless resident of Colorado Springs, Colorado. "These Soldiers protect us and help us. It's truly amazing."
More than 1,000 Soldiers left the donation table heaping with many necessities for local community members in need.
"It's amazing how Soldiers help fill our shelves; it's important now because of the cold," said Rochelle Schlortt, chief communications officer for Marian House.
The Marian House Soup Kitchen is a local non-profit program and for information on volunteering please call the Marian House volunteer coordinator at 719-866-6559.