Every year knitters from around the church make gifts for seafarers. Seamen’s Church Institute offers ideas for gifts and assistance for those who work the seas and rivers in the shipping industry:
Since 1898, during the Spanish American War, volunteers of the Seamen’s Church Institute have knitted, collected, packed, and distributed gifts to mariners who are miles away from home during the holidays. The gift consists of a handknit garment, a personal letter, and information on SCI’s services for mariners. In addition to this, SCI also includes several useful items like hand lotion, lip balm, and toothbrushes—things difficult to come by when working long stretches on the water.
Knitting groups around the country connect with SCI in weekly knitting meetings at churches and at knitting-sponsored events. Through online sites like Ravelry and the CAS blog, the Institute works with hundreds to make the program effective.
The historic name of this volunteer program, Christmas at Sea, only partially describes the work of the people who make holidays a little warmer for mariners. While gift distribution happens during winter months, collection and creation of items happens year round, and while many gifts go to international mariners working “at sea,” thousands of gifts also go to mariners working on inland waterways here in the United States.
Does your church have a knitting group?