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December 2023

Ditty bags, Giving Trees, stuffing parties… December is an exciting season at the Seattle Seafarers Center. Our office has been brimming all month with donations of toiletries, hand-knit hats, board games, warm socks and gloves, boxes of chocolate, and more. In addition to our annual stuffing party, which drew over 75 participants from the community, we also hosted several smaller teams at our Center this month to stuff ditty bags. Many local parishes have been collecting items for seafarers as part of their Christmas Giving Tree programs, and almost every weekend we have received an abundance of thoughtful gifts. We are so thankful for the generosity of our community in helping us give back to seafarers during the holidays.

We are also thankful for your financial gifts in this season! You helped us raise over $8,000 during Giving Tuesday, and we have additionally received many generous end-of-year donations. Your support is enabling our team to continue and expand our work of caring for seafarers in Puget Sound. Thank you!

Story Time

The Tonga Chief is a container ship which frequents the Port of Seattle every 1-2 months, and its crew knows to reach out for our services. In addition to several ride requests during their visits, the crew will also email us a list of shopping items to order on their behalf. 

On December 15th, we headed to the port with a bin of Amazon packages for the chief engineer, 3 blue IKEA bags full of ditty bags for each crewmember, and some Ferrero Rocher chocolate to share. As we approached the ship’s gangway, we ran into a supplier who also had a much appreciated delivery: the crew’s Christmas tree and a bushel of local apples.

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We were led to the crew mess, which was already festively decorated for the holidays. As the crew filed in for lunch, they were eager to pick out their favorite ditty bags and open them. Each bag contained a hand-written card from a local middle school or high school student, and the crewmembers started taking turns reading them aloud.

They were very sweet notes, wishing the seafarers the best and thanking them for their hard work and sacrifices. After each note, all the crew would say “awwww” and clap. Smiles were in abundance. One crewmember told us to “please send our love and regards” to the students who wrote these notes.

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After lunch, we got ready to take 5 of the crew downtown to go shopping. I chatted with one seafarer as we walked down the gangway, and he told me that he had never been ashore in Seattle before and was excited to see the city. As we stepped onto the tarmac, he stooped down to touch the asphalt and giggled. “I am touching Seattle!” He said he does this every time he visits a new port. 


It was a joy to bring gifts to this crew and to welcome them to our city!

Come Visit a Ship with Us!

Have you ever wanted to meet seafarers from all around the world and see what it's like on a container ship? We will still be giving out ditty bags on our ship visits during the month of January, and we would love for you to join us!

Contact or call (206) 935-3439 to learn more.

Happy New Year, and thank you for your continued support!

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