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Thanksgiving, and giving thanks …

rucksgiving2It started with a phone call. Adrian of OCR World Championship called me one morning to float a crazy idea by me … For the last few years, he and his buddies have ran around New York City handing out festive holiday cheer, and he wondered – would the New England Spahtens do something similar in Boston? Would this be an idea that could take off?

From such a simple phone call – an annual tradition has launched.

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What is Rucksgiving?

It’s simple – you get together, and ruck around your nearest city. Instead of bricks, you carry food. Blanket. Warm weather gear. Toiletries. You ruck around the homeless hotspots, or the shelters, and you find people who need things.

gooddeedAnd you wish them a happy holidays – because not everyone had a warm fire and turkey dinner this Thanksgiving, and it feels nice to spread some of that.

In Boston, we had over 40 people and kids participating. We spent a bit of time at the common – but the weather had driven the cities homeless population to warmer locations. We regrouped and rucked – hitting up a rehab shelter, and ultimately ending up at Rosies Place, a women’s shelter. Thank you to Amy for putting together the route, and all her work behind the scenes!

And we made a difference. We made an impact. Not on a global, world peace level – but locally, in our own community, we gave someone who needed it a new toothbrush. We gave someone a warm jacket to stay warmer this winter. We left boxes of diapers at the women’s shelter for the homeless children who needed them and we provided home made muffins and candy bars to people who may not have had a tasty treat in sometime. We listened to stories from some people, received hugs from others. We were especially touched when one of the little girls in our group gave her favorite blanket from her stroller to the shelter after hearing there was an 18mo old baby inside – proving that the biggest hearts can be found everywhere.

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We covered five miles in three hours. We were cold, but thankful. This whole experience touched us all differently, but I like to think that when we all came home, we were even more grateful for our warm beds and our loving families.

We finished our ruck by splitting up – either heading home, or to Jillians, the venue for our first annual holiday social.

We picked Jillians for a reason – a centrally located, well known bar and pool hall in Boston – they were used to large groups and corporate style functions, and gave us a section of their floor and a bunch of pool tables. They also gave us awesome food, and I thank each and every person who picked up tickets to help us cover the costs for such a party! A wonderful night of giving thanks for our friends, meeting new friends – so many new faces came out, which was wonderful, and I hope I got to meet you all – we’ll be doing it again 🙂

Thank you to Unleashed, Battlefrog, FIT and Reebok for providing prizes for our raffle!

We had a wonderful day – and it was a fantastic way to spend time with our OCR community and family – from old friends having fun, to meeting new friends. I hope everyone had a good time, whichever activity you participated in, and I thank you – because without this community and the people in it, none of this could have happened.

If you missed this event – you don’t have to wait for the next one. This holidays make a difference to one person you don’t know. Find a soup kitchen and volunteer, or a homeless shelter and hand out blankets – don’t wait.

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