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Bring some festive cheer to our troops

Monday 1st December 2008 (Andrew Griffiths)
Bring some festive cheer to our troops

As our thoughts turn to Christmas we want to send some festive cheer to the brave men and women who are risking their lives to bring peace in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It can’t be much fun to be apart from your loved ones at this time, and so I am asking for your help in brining a little Christmas cheer by sending packs of supplies, food and presents to our troops overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Last year, many people sent goodies overseas to forces personnel overseas. However, the M.O.D has brought in new rules which have changed everything. You can no longer send parcels at Christmas time addressed simply to “a serviceman” or “a servicewoman”. They must be personally addressed. Thanks to the efforts of CFSAN, we have a list of soldiers who have asked to receive parcels for themselves and to distribute to colleagues. If you can help, we want to send shoe boxes full of goodies as soon as possible.
Shoe boxes. All packages under 2kg for troops will be sent out free of charge by Royal Mail! Shoe boxes are the perfect size for packing pressies and goodies and to ensure they arrive in time for Christmas, they have to be ready by 5th December for Afghanistan, and by 10th December for Iraq.

Goodies, foods, and pressies! This is the fun part. It’s time to dig deep and come up with the goods. You know that can of soup in your cupboard that doesn’t go out of date until 2012? Yeah, we’ll have that for the packs. You know those nice pair of socks you got given for Christmas ages ago but have never worn and are still in the packaging? Yeah, we’ll have them too! But you know that chocolate bar? Not so good, it will melt in the mail. Here are some other things you might want to think about including: magazines (though please be aware of what is culturally acceptable in Iraq and Afghanistan), soap, hand cream, biscuits (though not chocolate ones), paperback books, suduko puzzle books, packs of tissues, pic ‘n’ mix sweets (apparently VERY popular!), diluting juice powder sachets, soup sachets (think cup a soup etc…), deodorants (NOT aerosols though, only roll ons) etc.

Saying thanks. Something we really want to include in the pack is a short letter of thanks. Words can never describe how grateful we are for what our servicemen and servicewomen do out there for us, but by sending them some presents and letting them know we are thinking of them at a time of year when we will all usually be with our loved ones, we can go some way to saying that very special thank you. So when you’re packing up your shoebox, don’t forget to include a little Christmas card saying thanks and asking the soldier to share the presents with his fellow servicemen and women!

To our troops, with love. Time to send the packs out! The idea is that we send as many packs as possible out to our troops and then the items be distributed amongst the camp when they arrive. In order to do that though you will need the name and address of a soldier. Our lists of soldiers will not be being made public but if you send me an email to (replacing the AT with an @ symbol) saying you’ve got your shoebox ready, and we will pass you on a name and address for you to write on the parcel and then take to the post office. By all means if you have friends, family or loved ones serving over in Iraq or Afghanistan, you are more than welcome to send your shoe box to them. But why stop there? Send as many shoeboxes under 2kg as you can manage and together, we can bring a bit of Christmas to our troops.

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