Seafarers’ House Wraps Up Shoebox Christmas
Thanks to the generosity and hard work of our many volunteers, more than 1,460 mariners were the recipients of gift-filled shoeboxes that were delivered aboard more than 80 ships docked at Port Everglades during the holidays.
Volunteers and supporters came from a wide range of businesses, schools and organizations including: Parkway Christian School, South Florida Chapter of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA), BB&T, Humana, JetBlue, Miller Legg, Moss and Associates, Community Capital Management, Crowley Maritime Corporation, Resolve Marine Group, American Maritime Officers, Port Everglades and many churches.
“Without these dedicated and hard-working volunteers, our annual Shoebox Christmas event would not be as successful as it is,” said Seafarers’ House Executive Director Lesley Warrick. “From June through December our volunteers work tirelessly to wrap, pack and deliver presents.”
Holidays can be a difficult time for those who make a living aboard ships. Many are away from family and friends and miss being able to open packages and share in the joy of giving and receiving. Even small tokens of appreciation bring a smile to their face.
“It’s not the size or price tag on the gift, but the simple fact that someone took the time to remember these hard-working men and woman whose travels take them from around the world to our shores,” said Seafarers’ House Chaplain Father Ron Perkins, who often accompanies volunteers on their deliveries. “It’s important for them to know we value the work they do, not just during the holidays, but every day.”
The items donated and wrapped included necessities such as socks, razors, toothpaste and toothbrushes, shaving cream and combs.
Seafarers’ House started its Shoebox Christmas Program to deliver holiday gifts to ships in 2008 as a collaborative effort between the pastoral care team and a group of volunteers headed by Seafarers’ House Board Member Jill Novacek, PhD.
“Our annual Shoebox Christmas is not only a great way to show mariners that we care, but it’s also an opportunity to educate the community about the lives of mariners and the impact they have on our lives.”
Many volunteers can board ships and make deliveries in person, which helps them to appreciate that the goods and lifestyle they enjoy each day are the result of the hard work and dedication of men and women who live and work aboard ships.