Penny Keen, of Buttermere Way, made up a box of things from home for a friend’s son, then serving with the Royal Marines in Afghanistan.
That was six years ago and since then, more than 5,000 parcels have been put together with Penny’s help.
She now works as an area co-ordinator for the national charity Support Our Soldiers and makes up 70 parcels every month for the armed forces serving overseas, plus 155 parcels at Christmas.
Penny said: “The response we get from service personnel is so touching it makes all the hard work worthwhile.
“They tell us receiving the boxes brings home a little nearer and those who perhaps don’t have family feel they have not been forgotten.”
She raises all the funds needed to fill 855 boxes a year – around £8,500 – then shops for the items. She and a small dedicated band of helpers make up the boxes and post them to various places overseas.
Fundraising efforts last year included a stall at Armed Forces Day in June, a garden party in Worthing, a bucket collection at Morrisons Littlehampton in August, Littlehampton Town Show in September and the annual supper dance in September.
More area co-ordinators and funds are needed. Anyone interested in helping or making a donation, either of money or goods for the parcels, should contact Penny Keen on 07771 605455, email [email protected] or write to Head Office Support Our Soldiers, 1 North View, Stakeford, Northumberland NE62 5JJ.