Helen Cocker, the West Yorkshire co-ordinator for Operation Shoebox UK, knows just how important the care packages she sends to servicemen and women are.
Since March, her son Paul Cocker has been on his first tour in Afghanistan with the Royal Logistics Corp.
Now she sends shoeboxes filled with toiletries, vitamins, snacks, magazines and games to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan on a weekly basis.
Mrs Cocker, 48, said: “Some soldiers are out there with no families. If they don’t get our care packages, they get nothing.”
Alice Wilson, 21, who also supports the appeal, said: “They love the packages. There are things in there that they just can’t get out in Afghanistan.
“It shows people do care and it puts a smile on their faces.”
Mrs Cocker hopes to meet some of the service men and women who have benefited from the shoeboxes when the Rifles regiment is given the Freedom of Dewsbury in the summer.
Mrs Cocker, of Naylor Court, Dewsbury, said: “We’re hoping that when the Rifles come through, we can have a stall. If somebody could make us a banner and some flags that would be great.”
But in the meantime, she hopes local families will spare the time to fill a shoebox for the appeal.
The boxes must weigh no more than 2kg and must not include chocolate or aerosols.
A full list of acceptable items is available on the appeal website, www.operationshoebox.co.uk.
To sponsor a box, arrange collection of filled boxes or supply a banner for the stall, ring Mrs Cocker on 01924 458955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mum shows support for soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq