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A seafarer prepares to leave Port Saint John. Image: Submitted/Port Saint John

Holiday Gift Drive For Seafarers In Saint John

By Brad Perry Dec 7, 2022 | 3:51 PM

Port Saint John has teamed up with the Saint John Seafarers’ Mission for its annual holiday gift drive.

The organization is collecting items for those working on vessels that stop in the port over the holidays.

“Typically, we are busy in the port during the holidays. The commerce doesn’t stop in terms of its movement of good,” said Paula Copeland, vice president of engagement and sustainability at Port Saint John.

This year, the port has decided to give the Mission a hand by serving as a collection point for donations.

Copeland said the men and women who work on the ships are often there for months at a time — sometimes as long as 18 months during the pandemic.

“You’re away from your loved ones during that time,” she said. “During the holidays, that feeling of loneliness is increased.”

The port saw more than 22,000 seafarers in 2021, assuming an average of 24 crew per ship and 919 ships.

Last year, the Mission distributed 152 Christmas packages to seven ships. One of these packages was delivered to the Saint John Regional Hospital, where one crew member was recovering from illness.

Welcomed donations include toiletry items for onboard the ship, Christmas cards, and warm items such as gloves, hats, scarves and socks.

“A lot of the people who come from the ships are coming from warmer climates and it’s very cold here for them. Sometimes this is the first time they’ve encountered cold like that so they won’t have those warm things,” said Copeland.

Copeland said they are also looking for fun things like candy, chocolate bars, books, playing cards, notepads and pens.

Items can be dropped off unwrapped at the Marco Polo Cruise Terminal on Water Street from noon to 4 p.m. daily until Friday.


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