Ruck for Rugrats and deliver joy

Published 10:00 am Saturday, November 5, 2022

The seventh annual Ruck for Rugrats will once again deliver Christmas joy to hospitalized children, by taking toys and gifts to Children’s of Mississippi Hospital.

“We expect this to be our biggest and best year yet,” said 5th Squad president and CEO Lee Stringer. “We have had over 1,500 people walk in the pouring rain, cold, windy weather, to hand deliver over $140,000 in donations over the past six events. Let’s do it again.”

The 4.5-mile march will begin at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 10, at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium, 2531 N State St., Jackson. Expected to take about three hours, this is a march, not a race. With an 18-minute-mile pace, the goal is to start and finish as a group.

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A trail vehicle and medic will be available, as long as multiple law enforcement agencies to safely escort the group from start to finish.

Anyone can participate. Attendees must bring their own ruck sack or backpack, and everyone is encouraged to donate an item for the event.

Since 2016, 5th Squad has helped more than 750 Armed Forces veterans in Mississippi by paying utilities or rent, purchasing groceries, helping with job applications and service dog deposits, and many other ways. More than $150,000 has been donated and used in these ways.

The Ruck event came about because the veterans who make up 5th Squad wanted to do something for children who are set apart during the holidays due to illnesses.

Toy donations can be made by visiting The toys will be mailed to 5th Squad headquarters, and personally delivered to the Children’s of Mississippi Hospital during the Ruck event.

Participation cost is $30 and includes a t-shirt, and other donated items from local Jackson Metro businesses. Groups of 10 or more can participate for $20 each. Anyone interested in simply purchasing a shirt can also do so for $20. Sign up by Nov. 17 to reserve a shirt. All shirt sale proceeds go to Children’s of Mississippi. Register at

“Thank you for supporting the children of Children’s of Mississippi Hospital,” Stringer said. “You won’t participate in a more rewarding event.”