Ditty Bag Offerings

Delivering Ditty Bags to the Seattle Seafarer’s Center: In front: Katie Parks (adult leader) Shiro (Beth) Njoroge, Mahayla Curtis, Irene Njoroge (adult leader), Ben Njoroge, David Njoroge In back: Captain Charlie Hubbard.

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This holiday season, the youth of Grace Church once again helped to send love and caring across the world. Inspired by the life and work of Captain Charlie Hubbard, this is the second year they’ve participated in a project to reach out to merchant sailors in cooperation with the Ditty Bag program of the Seattle Seafarers Center. Many in our community rallied to support the youth in making this happen.

What’s it all about? Captain Charlie shared with Grace teens and friends the often lonely and very dangerous life of a seafarer. We depend on merchant sailors to bring us food, electronic items, raw materials, and other essential cargo. These men and women also ship our exports (like hay) overseas. Without seafarers, our lives would be almost unrecognizable. Imagine doing your holiday or weekly grocery shopping and seeing empty shelves.

Working at sea is the third most hazardous occupation due to natural elements and piracy. It’s lonely work; seafarers are away from their homes and families for months at a time. While at sea they’re isolated. In port they’re often alienated by language and culture, and under Homeland Security rules, shore leave in the US is often difficult to obtain.

After hearing Charlie’s own tales and the reality of seafaring life, the youth decided they’d like to help out in our local sea port, so that these men and women wouldn’t feel quite as alone, especially during the holidays.

Last year, they sent 75 ditty bags to be handed out over the holidays. Local folks who sew donated fabric and their time to make ditty bags. The youth strung the cords for them and collected hats and toiletries for the bags. This year they sent nearly 100 ditty bags to the Seattle Seafarers Center along with wool hats and personal toiletries. They send a warm thank you to everyone in the wider community who helped by donating fabric, making hats, helping to make ditty bags, and donating toiletries. Your support warmed their hearts and will be warming the hearts of seafarers across the globe this holiday season.

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