Gifts for seafarers

Published December 1, 2007

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a very poignant poem about a sailor at sea battling the wind and weather as the ship fought its way out of a deep bay on Christmas day. The pathos of this poem, Christmas At Sea, is in the fact that on the headland below which the ship is battling is the house where the sailor was born and where his parents are at that time celebrating Christmas. For most of the seafarers of the world, Christmas is another day of work far from home. Those fortunate enough to be in port might be able to phone home. Some ships have satellite phone capability for calls from sea to home but it is costly; many seafarers end up feeling lonely.

The Mission to Seafarers in Halifax has traditionally put together Christmas shoebox gifts for each seafarer on board the ships visiting Halifax from December to just after Epiphany. These gifts of toiletries, socks, toques, gloves, scarves, and stationery are received with great appreciation. In recent years the Gideons have supplied New Testaments for the boxes. Church groups, families, individuals, retired seafarers, and office groups contribute these gifts that we are able to give about 1,800 seafarers a year.

Chaplain Donald Lawton
Mission to Seafarers


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