Army in public donations mail plea
British troops serving in Afghanistan are in danger of missing out on mail from their loved ones because of the "huge and unmanageable" amount of donations sent by members of the public, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.
Army chiefs have revealed they are being "overwhelmed" by the volume of parcels and shoeboxes sent to unnamed British service personnel overseas, which makes it more difficult for frontline supplies and post from families to get through.
Some parcels have contained woolly hats - despite the baking Afghanistan heat - and everyday goods such as fruit and toiletries, which are easily accessible for troops to buy abroad, the MoD said.
Well-wishers are now being urged to send their donations through charities, including the SSAFA Operational Welfare Fund and UK4U Thanks!, which provides a Christmas parcel for every serviceman and woman serving overseas on Christmas Day.
Major John Leeper, commanding officer for Operation Herrick Postal and Courier Squadron, said: "For personnel deployed overseas, personal mail from loved ones is very important.
"Unfortunately though, the system can be completely overwhelmed by the public's generous donations, which results in mail from family and friends being delayed.
"The huge and unmanageable number of welfare parcels sent by well-meaning members of the public, particularly in the run-up to Christmas, causes real difficulties.
"While all of us recognise and are grateful for the public's generous intentions, it would be so much better if members of the public could channel their goodwill into making a donation to one of the MoD's recommended service charities."
Lieutenant Colonel Gareth Baker, who is responsible for operational welfare at the MoD, said: "What the troops on the ground really want is to receive their personal mail - the letter from their spouse or gift from their children - and the sheer number of welfare parcels in the system causes serious delays to those all-important personal items."
A list of recommended service charities, which accept public donations to assist deployed personnel and their families back at home, can be found at www.mod.uk/PublicSupportForOurServicePersonnel.