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A Holiday Initiative

Thank  you to all 2023 contributors who helped us deliver a historic record of 3,131 satchels spreading Holiday Cheer among seafarers this past Christmas!

Please help us make 2024 another banner year for spreading joy. 

90% of global trade is transported on the high seas by crew members on container ships who remain invisible to most people, yet our supply chains especially during the Holidays depend on their services. Seafarers are the “unseen essential workers” and are often overworked and lonely. Therefore, we invite you, your business, school group or congregation to spread Holiday Cheer among seafarers who will not be home with their loved ones for Christmas. Our port chaplains deliver the satchels filled with gifts to the ships . Every crew member on a ship regardless of their faith or nationality will open their satchels, each containing: 


  • One Sweatshirt – hooded or unhooded (size M-L-XL)

  • Three Pairs of Socks – thermal or gym

  • One T- Shirt (size M-L-XL)

  • One Knitted Winter Cap (coordinating scarf optional; no pastels please) 

  • One Can of Nuts, Large Bar of Chocolate, or Health Snack Bar

  • A Holiday or Christmas Card from YOU!

You pick the colors, styles and brands, but please no substitutions from the list. For the safety of seafarers, please do not add fringes or pom-poms to the hats and scarves. The Christmas-at-Sea satchels should be comparable for each member of the crew. Please assemble each satchel with sweatshirts and T-shirts of the same size and label the satchel with a M, L, or XL on the back side.

What might otherwise have been another lonely night at sea becomes a joyous occasion, because complete strangers share the spirit of Christmas with seafarers!

If it is more convenient, you may make a donation and have us purchase the items for you. Typically, a completely filled satchel costs about $35. You may also order items for seafarers on Amazon, we have created a special Christmas-at-Sea wish list

If you are a Thrivent client, you may apply for $250 in seed money for your Christmas-at-Sea team at 

To order empty satchels and to coordinate delivery or pick up, please contact:


For Baltimore area:  Rev. K. Robert Schmitt, 410-746-0236,

For New England:  Ruth Setaro, 203-687-2177,

All other regions:   Jeni

Filled satchels may be mailed by December 1, 2024 to:

Seafarers International House

c/o Salvation Army

120 W 14th Street

New York, NY 10011

Christmas At Sea is supported by

Officers Union of International Seamen (OUIS)

Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association (MEBA)

Seafarers International Union (SIU)


Why Christmas-at-Sea is mutually beneficial

by Pastor Sarah Hershberger

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SIU logo 2019.jpg
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