Despite a strict UK lockdown, social distancing measures and church closures as a result of COVID-19 – The Port of South Tees Seafarers’ Centre thanks local generosity to support seafarers.
Last year, Christmas was like no other with most families separated or spending it alone. For seafarers, however, many spent a second consecutive Christmas either at sea or moored within a port authority in a foreign country not having seen loved ones for months and, in some cases, years.
Many of the centres we operate in facilitate annual shoebox appeals to bring seafarers joy on a day that is universally known for happiness and celebrating togetherness. However, with more seafarers disconnected from loved ones, it was time to pull together on a scale not seen before.
Our seafarer centre in South Tees, along with its generous community, managed to maintain the magic of Christmas on an impressive level. Regardless of the pandemic’s impact, volunteers collected donations from schools, church groups, social groups and individuals and managed to give over 780 seafarers a Christmas parcel.
Commenting on the annual shoebox delivery, the team said: they have been: “astonished by the generosity of people at a time which is challenging for all.
“Giving these parcels while continuing our work of delivering phone cards and data top-ups worth £2,100, not only to vessels in the port but also to ships anchored off Finland, Holland, Belgium and Germany – is fantastic. The delight on the seafarer’s face and the thanks we received from all the crews was uplifting.
“Furthermore, we supplied crews on eight ships with warm clothing and were asked to arrange for money to be sent home to cover medical and education bills. We couldn’t have done this without the kindness of the community.”
The Mission to Seafarers is always grateful to its supporters who donate and volunteer, especially through these difficult times. If you would like to support our cause and help seafarers across the world, you can do so by clicking here.
This report reflects the joint work of MtS with Stella Maris in the Port of South Tees Seafarers’ Centre and thank them for supplying the photo.