The Durban Seafarers’ Centre in Bayhead was a hive of activity today when a group of enthusiastic volunteers joined two teams to pack 1100 parcels destined as gifts for seafarers.

This annual project which involves all the Missions has been in operation for some 31years when gifts are distributed to seafarers on ships in port over Christmas. Seafarers are far from home, away from their families and miss all the Christmas celebrations back home. To ensure that they are not forgotten, the Missions join forces and collect items which are wrapped and distributed to seafarers.

From donations which emanate from churches, individuals and various organizations mugs are purchased. Missions also have their loyal supporters who knit beanies, scarves, and fingerless gloves during the year

Each parcel contained a beanie or scarf, fingerless gloves, a mug , toiletries, sweets and greeting notes which children write to be placed in each package. Seafarers are away from their children and they appreciate these personal
wishes from children more than one realizes.

Gifts will be distributed by chaplains and helpers to vessels in port on 14 December and at outer anchorage on 21 December. The Transnet National Ports Authority kindly supplies a fire engine to take ‘Father Christmas’ to the ships in port. For distribution at outer anchorage a pilot boat performs the role of the sleigh!

For seafarers who visit the Centre on Christmas Day, gifts are also available.