Last year over 10,000 boxes were delivered as a “thank you” to British service personnel in Afghanistan. This was so well received the Ministry of Defence has asked the charity, Afghan Heroes, to include surrounding areas and means the charity will be packing 13,500 boxes.
Ninety Army Cadets from Somerset are planning to camp out at the Bath & West Showground near Shepton Mallet over the weekend of March 5 and 6 to pack the boxes along with volunteers from the public.
Before that the charity need to find chewing gum, pens, hand sanitiser, lip balm, shower gel, toothpaste, small puzzle books, toothbrushes, cereal bars, LED torches and other treats for the troops.
Haribo have agreed to provide sweets for the second year but other donations are being sought.
Denise Harris, founder of Afghan Heroes, whose son Corporal Lee Scott lost his life while serving in Helmand Province in July 2009, said: “We had a fantastic reaction to the boxes last year. So many servicemen said how fantastic it was to know that people back home were thinking about them.
“We are changing the contents this year following feedback from troops on the front line. This year we will not be putting socks, DVDs or memory sticks but we have had requests for sporks – a combination of knife fork and spoon – and sun cream / insect repellent.
“Some items we will be buying with funds raised throughout the year but it would be good if anyone can supply us with 13,500 of a particular product for the boxes.”
The home comforts will be packed in specially-produced ammo-style boxes so have to be of specific sizes to fit in.
Said Denise Harris: “Many soldiers do not have family support and the boxes are particularly welcomed by them as they are the only thing they receive from home. Even Prince Harry told us how much getting little comforts from home meant to him while on the front line in Afghanistan.”
Once packed the boxes will be delivered to Afghanistan by the Ministry of Defence. Anyone with products to donate should contact Afghan Heroes by telephone 0844 5766771 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Afghan Heroes registered charity No: 1132340