SHOPPERS are being asked to donate their leftover Christmas sweets to help boost the morale of Armed Forces serving overseas.
Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, in Hartlepool, is holding a sweet amnesty throughout this month to encourage shoppers to kick-start a healthy new year, while also putting a smile on the faces of our servicemen and women.
Centre bosses have set up a collection point for sweets, biscuits and other treats which will be sent out to soldiers, sailors and airmen overseas.
Suzanne Chaney, Middleton Grange Shopping Centre’s marketing manager, said the idea for the sweet amnesty came from her brother Michael, who has spent many Christmases overseas while serving with the RAF.
She said: “Everyone gets sweets and chocolate at Christmas, but come the new year, we’re all feeling that we need to cut down.
“The sweet amnesty gives people the opportunity to donate any spare chocolate, sweets or treats they may have to send out to our lads and lasses serving overseas.
“It doesn’t just have to be sweets that people have left over from Christmas. If they are able to pop a packet of sweets into their shopping and drop it off or have a pack of biscuits that they would like to donate, we would be most grateful.”
The sweet amnesty collection point has been set up at the shopping centre’s service desk outside BHS and will be open throughout January.
The sweets will then be despatched overseas via the RAF.
Michael, who was based in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Kosovo while serving with the RAF, said: “This is a great idea because I know from my time spent overseas that sweets and chocolate go down very well with the troops abroad – it’s a little reminder of home.”
The 37-year-old dad-of-two, who now works in the chemical industry at Seal Sands, added: “It’s great to get letters and parcels while you are overseas. But a lot of the lads didn’t get anything at Christmas and so the collected boxes help a lot.
“As well as sweets, it’s always great to get hot chocolate sachets as it’s still cold in Afghanistan right up until April, so a hot cup of chocolate is great.”