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Seafarer’s Scarves for Christmas At Sea

Seafarer's Scarves for Christmas At Sea
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Seafarer’s Scarves for Christmas At Sea, Seamen’s Church Institute, Port Newark, NJ.

I am a Christmas at Sea Knitter, and sent my 2012 donation of Seafarer’s Scarves off to Port Newark, NJ. I was saddened to hear that the Seamen’s Church Institute(SCI), which sponsors the volunteer knitting program, got flooded by Sandy, but grateful for the dedication of the SCI staff who salvaged many of the knitted gifts that were soaked, as Paige Sato recounts in her update:

Friday 10 SCI staff returned to the port with sleeves rolled up for some hard work. We painstakingly sorted through each and every Santa sack, identifying and sorting the wet and/or damp from the dry.  I am THRILLED to say that over 1200 gifts (out of 1600) were FINE!  Thank goodness for plastic bags!

The wet and damp gifts were brought home over the weekend and laundered (as were any of the wet cloth ditty bags).

Today (Monday), we sorted through the nearly 7,000 items that were stored in boxes.  Every employee with electricity ponied up to the task and piled bag upon bag upon rubbermaid container into their cars and vans for more laundry.

I believe we will save well over 95% of all these knits. All the cloth ditty bags have been saved.  The toiletries–well, we’re not so lucky there.  But that’s the least of my worries.

SCI has collected handknitted hats, scarves and vests and socks for mariners and seafarers since 1898, during the Spanish American War!  Affiliated with the Episcopal Church, SCI is an ecumenical agency that advocates for men and women who work at sea with professional education, pastoral care and legal aid.

Knitting Room at Seamen's Church Institute
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The “Christmas At Sea” program offers hand-knitted articles of clothing to each seafarer who enters the port between October and February. Volunteers gather and knit, pick up supplies and drop off finished scarves, hats, mittens, and sweaters for delivery.

If I lived closer, I’d love to knit in the SCI’s volunteer knitters room!  What do you volunteer your time for?

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