For those who work on ships, life on the sea can be lonely, especially around the holiday season.
But Mission for Seafarers aims to change that by offering a warm and welcoming “home away from home” to those who visit the ports of Vancouver.
This Christmas, they will be partnering Vancouver marine transportation company Tymac to deliver gifts and care packages to ship crews spending the holidays docked in English Bay and Vancouver Harbour.
“There will be roughly 1000 wrapped presents (which are) made up of donations from churches such as the Anglican Church, Christian Reformed Church and Roman Catholic Church as well as various private donors,” Stephen Hnatko of Tymac tells Daily Hive.
The care packages will contain toques, socks, hygiene items, sweets, and Canadian souvenirs.
Tymac has donated their vessel and crew for the donation event, which will take place this Saturday, December 24.
The crew will be loading the presents on the deck of Tymac’s jet boat and will set into the harbour at 9 am to hand deliver the presents to workers on various ships.
“On average, these crew members spend nine months away from their homes and families, with little to no days off. These are working ships so they are often working in some capacity while they are away,” said Hnatko.
Last week, Tymac staff and the Mission to Seafarers visited the crew of the stranded Hanjin Scarlet in Victoria, BC.
The Hanjin Scarlet’s crew has been stuck on the 255m empty container ship since summer because of an unresolved bankruptcy issue.
Tymac and the Mission to Seafarers delivered care packages of food and clothing for the ship’s stranded sailors, as well as phone cards to help them call home.
“(This cause) is important because we want to make sure that the crew members and everyone else onboard know that we value their hard work and the important role that they play in keeping Vancouver’s shipping economy moving,” said Hnatko.
“We also want to make sure that although they can’t be at home with their family and friends for the holidays that they still can experience the joy of opening a gift on Christmas day.”