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The Seamen’s Church Institute’s “Christmas at Sea” Program

Posted on Tuesday December 11, 2012 by April U

The Seamen’s Church Institute’s International Seafarer’s Center at Port Newark provides ministry and assistance to thousands of international seafarers annually. Among other things, SCI ‘s “Christmas at Sea” program provides gift bags to seafarers at coastal and inland river ports throughout the United States. The gift bags are filled with scarves, hats, vests, socks and helmets, all hand-knit by volunteers throughout the year. The bags also include toiletries like lip balm and lotion, hard candies, Christmas cards handmade by children and little treats like a deck of cards or puzzle book.

This year, in addition to damage to their building, employees and volunteers found all the packaged gifts prepared for seafarers calling on the Port of NY & NJ, as well as some of the unpackaged items that were going to be shipped to other locations, sitting in standing water. The Center also lost the three vans they use to transport seafarers gratis to and from the marine terminals when they are at port.

When Joseph O’Brien , a Trustee of the International Commerce Club of NJ, read about the problems, he called on his colleagues at the various tri-state transportation organizations to pitch in. They all responded with donations, and presented checks totaling $2,300 in recognition of the importance of seafarers to their members’ businesses.

The International Commerce Club of NJ, the Foreign Commerce Club of NY, each donated $500; Westconn International Trade Association contributed $300. The Traffic Club of NY donated $500, but is accepting members’ contributions until December 28th. SCI is one of four Sandy-relief organizations they are supporting by matching members contributions up to a total of $1500. As an added bonus, one of the TCNY members, Penn Intermodal Leasing, LLC is matching all TCNY member contributions up to a total of $3,000. Additionally, the Foreign Commerce Club is donating proceeds from their 50/50 Raffle at their Annual Holiday Luncheon on December 12th to SCI. Pat Moffett, the Chair of the Long Island Import/Export Association made a personal $500 donation on behalf of that group.

Representatives from the associations presented the checks to Reverend David Rider, Executive Director of SCI, at the Institute’s downtown offices on Friday, December 7th. Anyone wishing to donate to SCI may do so by visiting or by mail to The Seamen’s Church Institute, 74 Trinity Place, Suite 1414, New York, NY 10006. If you want to roll up your sleeves and help with the cleanup, email

For additional information: Joe O’Brien, Virginia Int’l Terminals 201-793-1563
Bryan Jay, Amass Int’l Group (New York), Inc. 718-995-0800
Breck Benja, Jr., Alba Wheels Up, 201-435-7050
Lucy Ambrosino, Port of NY/NJ 212-435-4259

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