A group of 43 Army reservists on Sunday marched in formation down the streets of Schenectady, New York, but they weren’t carrying any weapons or tactical gear.
The servicemen had rucksacks filled with gifts for children at Things of My Very Own, a crisis intervention organization that helps children who are victims of abuse and neglect, Spectrum News reports. The uniformed reservists, some also sporting Santa hats, opened their sacks to take out collected donations such as clothes, toys, and blankets.
“It’s very important that we do have things to give these children,” Things of My Very Own founder and CEO Rayn Boncie said. “One of the things we’ve encountered every year is that there will be children that are fleeing abusive situations on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day if they don’t wake up to gifts they assume it’s because they’re on the naughty list for telling what they’ve endured.”
Col. Walter Venneman led the troops who marched 2.5 miles to deliver the items.
“It’s overwhelming for me to look at that, it’s a sleigh-full, it really is, it’s a sleigh full of stuff and it appears to me my soldiers went out and completely went for it and filled it up,” Venneman said. “I think a lot of us knew this was a great cause.”