Lisburn has always been known as a garrison town and has been very supportive of the troops over the years.
Most recently, the people of Lisburn have enthusiastically supported Operation Shoebox, which sends shoeboxes, filled with essentials and luxuries, out to serving troops in war zones such as Afghanistan.
With the withdrawal of troops later this year, Operation Shoebox is now coming to an end and there will only be one more shipment sent out before the serving men and women return home.
The Ministry of Defence recently advised local man Jim Smith, the Lisburn Operation Shoebox co-ordinator, that the NAAFI store at Camp Bastion has now been closed, making the shoeboxes being sent to Afghanistan even more vital.
“The appeal is to show support for the troops in Afghanistan by providing them with essential supplies, making sure they don’t run out of the small things we take for granted,” explained Jim. “Servicemen and women deserve our support and this appeal will show them that people back home are thinking about them.”
Items which may be put into the shoeboxes include small variety boxes of cereal, biscuits, tea bags, boiled sweets, chewing gum, pens, cotton socks, toothbrushes and toothpaste, lip salve, non-aerosol shaving cream, roll-on deodorant, talc, shower gel, CDs. Filled, unwrapped shoeboxes should then be left at one of the local drop-off points in Lisburn - DUP Offices, Castle Street or J&J Embroidery, Drumbeg Drive. The boxes will then be collected by volunteers, weighed, wrapped and sent to nominated soldiers on the frontline.
“We would ask that when filling the boxes people make sure no aerosol cans are included, ” continued Mr Smith.
“Mark your box male or female and if you wish to include a note in the box to let the troops know that you are behind them, that is fine.
“Men and women are not the only ones on the frontline who have benefitted from Operation Shoebox.
One shoebox that was recently sent from Lisburn was not marked ‘male’ or ‘female’ but rather ‘dog’ and included supplies for one of the dogs that work with the armed forces in Afghanistan.
“We at Operation Shoebox would like to thank everyone for their support, and I am sure the brave men and women on the frontline would thank everyone as well, ” he added.
Further details about Operation Shoebox, including a full list of items suitable for inclusion in the boxes, can be found online at www.operationshoebox.co.uk