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Seafarers’ Center Donates Gifts To Cargo Crew Members Away For The Holidays

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Monique Griego 370x278 Monique Griego
Monique Griego joined the WJZ News Team in July 2011 as a General...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Not everyone can be home for the holidays this year. For the men and women who sail into Baltimore, they’re getting help from the city’s Seafarers’ Center.

Monique Griego shows us how the workers are spreading holiday cheer. 

With bags full of gifts, this crew is a seaman’s Santa.

“I have never been completely separate from my family at Christmas, and I just can’t imagine what that’s like,” said Mary Davisson, Seafarers’ Center.

Davisson is the director and port chaplain for the Baltimore International Seafarers’ Center.

Every year, the center and its volunteers bring gifts to cargo boats passing through Baltimore’s ports.

“Most of the crews are on board anywhere from six to 12 months away from their families,” Davisson said.

Volunteers make the long trek to hop on board and deliver Christmas boxes to each and every crew member.

“I think the person-to-person contact is very important to me. Well, a great deal of fun actually,” said Bob Garsky, volunteer.

All the gifts given were donated by local churches and community groups.

“We encourage lots of warm items. Some might be toothpaste, shampoo or items like that,” Davisson said.

One ship travelled to Baltimore from India. Its crew has been on board since October.

“It’s part of a sea man’s life. We accepted it,” said Sandosh Kumar Sikdar, ship captain.

The ship’s captain says the gifts get them into the holiday spirit.

“It is very nice to be in America during this time of the year,” Sikdar said.

For the crews, it’s a small gesture that goes a long way.

In all, the Seafarers’ Center hopes to give out around 1,200 gift boxes this year. They’re always in need of donated items.

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