FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — Fort Drum soldiers are embracing the holiday season.

Early in the morning on November 20, the 10th Mountain Division’s 10th Combat Aviation Brigade hosted its 3rd Annual Food Ruck for Families.

The over 5,000 soldiers in the brigade marched over five miles with their rucksacks full of food and personal care items.

Although temperatures were well below freezing, units of soldiers were seen smiling, as they marched around the Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield and donated their food items.

“It’s amazing. So many soldiers just come out, come together as a unit and get a good workout,” Command Sergeant Major David Fisher, with the 3-10 General Support Battalion said. “But also give back as much as we can. I can’t believe how many cans I saw dumped into the boxes. It’s amazing.”

The event successfully collected tens of thousands of pounds of items. All donations were transported by the 277th Aviation Support Battalion to the Lowville Food Pantry.

Lowville is the community relations partner of the 3-10 General Support Aviation Battalion.

“Obviously with Thanksgiving coming up and you know, folks, they may not quite have as much as they need for the holiday season,” 3-10 Commander LTC Sean Stapler expressed.

Whether they have lived in the North Country for years, or are new to Fort Drum, LTC Stapler explained how this helped soldiers further serve the community they call home.

“Obviously, these soldiers give every single day that they serve,” the senior leader said. “But this is just a different way of giving back to the community.”

With hopes to spread some holiday cheer, past the Fort Drum gates, across the North Country.