DITTY BAGS 2020: SENDING APPRECIATION TO SEAFARERS DURING THE PANDEMIC
In 2020 we were determined to continue our tradition of delivering ditty bags filled with gifts of appreciation to all seafarers arriving in our ports during the Holiday Season, but we weren’t sure how we could overcome the special challenges of this pandemic year.
Many of the churches and businesses who have been important donors of items for the ditty bags were disrupted in ways we expected would result in huge shortages of gifts for seafarers. Groups of volunteers were unable to enjoy a festive day at our office packing the items into bags.
As it turned out, we actually surpassed the total number of ditty bags delivered last year. Our ship visitors carried 2,508 ditty bags to 115 ships, virtually every vessel that visited our ports between Thanksgiving and Martin Luther King Day.
We are profoundly grateful to the many friends who sent or dropped off boxes of gifts for seafarers, who donated funds to help us top up our supplies, who came alone or in small groups to help sort and pack, and who used their time during the pandemic to create beautiful, warm, hand-knitted hats and scarves. With your help, we were able to be there for seafarers in this time of crisis.
These pictures capture just a little of the joy this project brought to seafarers.