Sharing Christmas with seafarers

2016-12-21 06:01

CHRISTMAS is a time of celebration when families, loved ones and friends get together. However for so many in our society this is not possible.

Amongst those who are often forgotten are the seafarers who are the crews of the many vessels visiting the Port of Durban.

They are separated from their families and loved ones thousands of miles away in distant countries. What is ironic is that these seafarers are often on vessels bearing cargo which comprises items for sale as festive season gifts.

Fortunately a group of people are involved each year in the Share your Christmas with a Seafarer Project. Members of the various Seafarers’ Missions and chaplains who regularly visit crews on ships in port all join forces and collect and make items which are wrapped and distributed to seafarers on ships in port over Christmas.

This project has been running for about 30 years and although it entails a lot of hard work, seafarers who cannot be home during this festive period appreciate the gesture. In addition, schools are also contacted and the teachers arrange for pupils to write short notes which are included in each parcel. Seafarers appreciate these messages written by children as they bring a personal touch to the gifts received.

Mittens and beanies are always sought after and enthusiastic knitters, often from various residential homes and ladies’ groups at churches, are busy throughout the year.

From donations received, other items are also bought.

This year packing and wrapping of the gifts took place at the Seafarers’ Centre in Bayhead and an enthusiastic group of helpers packed some 2 000 parcels.

A group of helpers will board a pilot boat from Transnet National Ports Authority to distribute the gifts to vessels in the port on 22 December and at outer anchorage on 23 December. - Supplied.

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