FIGHTING for their country thousands of miles away from home, soldiers in wartorn Afghanistan are receiving boxes filled with treats thanks to a Sheffield mum whose own son is a serviceman.
But Jo Hattersley, aged 59, of Fox Hill Road, Fox Hill, who sends 50 shoeboxes to the frontline every month as a volunteer for the Support Our Soldiers charity, said the recession has seen a dramatic drop in the number of boxes being sent to her.
That means fewer boxes to ship off to the UK’s servicemen and women.
The mum-of-two, whose 30-year-old son Adrian is in the RAF, raises cash which she then spends on filling empty shoeboxes with toiletries and sweets and other goodies which squaddies are unable to get abroad.
They are handed out to servicemen and women who do not have any relatives to send them treats.
Adrian is currently in the Falklands.
Jo, who works as a general assistant at a wholesaler’s, said: “I don’t do this because my son is in the services.
“I do it because I saw an advert a few years ago asking for help in sending these shoeboxes to soldiers who do not have families back home to send them anything.
“They are serving in these war zones to keep us safe from terrorism so this is my way of giving something back.
“Since then, with permission from the Ministry of Defence, I can send 50 boxes a month.
“I fill some myself and I ask schools and businesses to donate them too and I stockpile them to make sure I have 50 to send every month.”
But she admitted: “With the recession, donations are dropping off and I am finding it more and more difficult.”
She is calling for firms to encourage their employees to fill boxes together.
“If there were some empty shoeboxes placed in work canteens for example, it would be really easy for people to pop in a few treats and toiletries and they would be full in no time.
“The boxes are really appreciated by those who receive them and we have had letters back saying thank you, which are really touching and mean a lot.”
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to donate items or cash or get involved.