FORT HOOD — Soldiers with the 36th Engineer Brigade and their family members braved the cold to donate Christmas gifts to Santa’s Workshop.

Soldiers marched Tuesday from Hood Stadium to Santa’s Workshop, located near the commissary, carrying gifts in ruck sacks, assault packs or in hand, to ensure less fortunate service members’ children enjoy the Christmas holiday. Soldiers delivered books, board games and common boys’ or girls’ gifts.

Santa’s Workshop President Emily Damboise said the nonprofit organization holds fundraisers and gift donation events throughout the year for children in need.

“We provide toys for about 3,000 kids every year,” Damboise said. “We do five fundraisers a year as well as working with the units that do ruck marches and toy drives.”

Damboise said the organization last year helped 1,660 families.

“They each receive a stocking stuffer, a red toy and a blue toy, a book and a board game for the family,” Damboise said.

Damboise said the organization works with the unit’s command financial specialists to help identify the soldiers and families most in need of the gifts.

Maj. Joseph Patterson, the engineer brigade surgeon, participated in the ruck march and delivered gifts to the workshop.

“This program is set up to support less fortunate families and provide children with a merry Christmas,” Patterson said.

Patterson said getting toys for kids who otherwise wouldn’t have any is a great way to bring the Army family together.

“Hopefully, we can brighten some kids’ Christmas,” Patterson said.

Other events planned soon by Santa’s Workshop are a Golf Scramble, Pig n’ Pint, Thanksgiving Throwdown and Breakfast with Santa.

For more information on these events, go to

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