Stuff-a-Truck for hospitalized children

Published 2:00 pm Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Christmas for children is characterized by Santa Claus and brightly-wrapped gifts under a tree. But for children in the hospital during the holidays, the experience is much different than in a traditional setting.

That’s why non-profit veterans charity 5th Squad delivers presents to the patients at Children’s of Mississippi Hospital each year.

For the fourth consecutive year, 5th Squad will conduct a Stuff-a-Truck event on Saturday, Dec. 3, in partnership with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.

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New, unwrapped toys will be accepted in front of Brookhaven Walmart from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. that day.

One week later, on Dec. 10, participants in the seventh annual Ruck for Rugrats will march in a “fun ruck” 4.5 miles from Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium, 2531 N. State St., Jackson, to Children’s of Mississippi Hospital. Toys will be presented to families there.

A table will be set up inside Walmart near the self-checkout lanes with items requested by the hospital staff for children. These or any other toys can be purchased through any retailer to be donated to Stuff-a-Truck.

Toy donations can also be made online by visiting

A box will also be provided for cash donations. Cash donations will be used by 5th Squad to help meet needs of veterans — such as utilities, rent, groceries, and service dog deposits.

“We have a sponsor — Elaine Anders Design & Flowers — who has generously pledged to match the first $500 in cash donations given the day of the event,” said 5th Squad vice president Peter Griffin. “It’s huge to get that kind of support from a local business.”

The owners of 51 Pawn & Gun have also donated a gun to raffle. Tickets can be purchased at at the business on Hwy. 51 S or from Griffin for $5 each, or five for $20. The drawing will be after the Ruck for Rugrats on Dec. 10, and the winner does not have to be present at the drawing.

In past events, Stuff-a-Truck has collected $3,000 to $4,000 worth of toys each year, and more than $1,000 in cash donations.

“People give what they can. The people in Brookhaven are very generous, and we are very appreciative of any kind of support we get,” Griffin said.

5th Squad is a combat veteran organization founded in 2016 that works to pay bills for veterans in immediate need in Mississippi. For more information on the organization or to register for the Ruck for Rugrats, visit or