Smiles Across The Miles is one of the many "shoebox" groups which have sprung up over the country in recent months, keen to show their support for the guys and gals fighting out in Afghanistan by sending out parcels of goodies and messages of encouragement.
Smiles Across The Miles is based in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex and has already sent over 1,200 parcels to the frontline. The parcels are sent to welfare officers out in Afghanistan who then distribute them as they think fit, particularly to those who perhaps have no family back home in the UK to support them.
As far as Smiles is concerned the contents of the parcels are collected from a number of sources. People can drop off stuff at their local Co-op shop for later collection; local charities and associations (eg Southend's Naval and Military Club pictured above right) hold special fundraising events; local care homes host special collection and packing days; and the Smiles group itself has a fundraising stall at any local event going - Southend Airshow, Armed Forces Day, Basildon Festival, to name but a few.
Caroline Gladwin, head of the group, said: "It is so lovely when we meet soldiers who have received our parcels. We always ask people for feedback so we can make sure the things we are sending are what they need".
Receiving parcels and letters from home is a definite morale booster.
Well done, Caroline and all the team!
Southend Echo: Caroline brings a smile to our fighting forces
Smiles Across The Miles website