Seafarers on cargo ships suffered terribly during the pandemic, many isolated on board their vessels for months at a time and unable to leave for home at the end of their contracts.

They kept working to bring us goods and produce from all over the world. This Holiday Season brings us a chance to thank them with a ditty bag full of gifts of appreciation!

We are grateful to all the churches, business, and individuals who collected – and knitted – items to be packed into ditty bags. And thanks as well to volunteers- including a group from Catholic Daughters of America – who took time during this busy season to come and pack thousands of bags that are being delivered to every ship that enters our Delaware River ports.

Below: a collection of photographs from the Ditty Bag season of 2021:


  • Hats and scarves in dark colors
  • Work socks, work gloves
  • ChapStick
  • Nail clippers
  • Razors
  • Shaving cream
  • Playing cards
  • Hand lotion
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo
  • Comb
  • Pen & writing paper
  • Mini sewing kit
  • Hard or boxed candy, gum, cough drops
  • And financial donations are welcome

If you are packing ditty bags to be delivered to us already filled, please include 7 to 10 items per bag.

If possible, we need items at our office, 1113 Admiral Peary Way, 2nd floor, Philadelphia, PA 19112, by November 15 to be ready for group packing sessions, but we appreciate them throughout the holiday season and indeed all year.

Please contact hpierson@sciphiladelphia.org with any questions or to make a financial contribution.