Parcels are delivered to every ship in port, one for each crew member, along with Bibles in the language of the majority of seafarers on board. We attach a card, translated into the language of each recipient, which explains the reason we celebrate Christmas.
Parcels usually consist of a shoebox (or similar-sized gift bag) wrapped in festive paper, and filled with both practical items and treats. A card with a personal note, although optional, is always most appreciated by all seafarers.
We also suggest that, on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, the ship’s captain read the Christmas story (Luke chapter 2) from the Bible with his/her crew and then distribute the parcels.
We accept parcels all the way through December. The earlier the better - we start handing out parcels the last week of November (for those ships we know will be out to sea over Christmas.) However, we give out parcels sometimes into the first week of January (for the ships we missed who were out to sea over Christmas.)
To ensure that parcels are of similar value, we ask that you follow the following guidelines as closely as possible:
- Fill a shoe box completely. It is better to have a small full box than a half empty big box.
- Enclose a Christmas card with a personal note and your name and address (if you’re comfortable doing so). Some of those who receive these gifts like to acknowledge them.
- Parcel contents: Enclose one or more of the following: scarf, toque, gloves, socks, toothbrush and toothpaste, calendar, packaged candy, aftershave lotion, face cloth, playing cards, soap, nail clipper, picture frame (no glass), a small souvenir of Canada etc. (Please Note: Dollar store gloves and hats are totally acceptable - the seafarers don't wear them for work or play but rather when they are here, and other cold cities, they use them to just keep warm when off ship. Most seafarers find our climate VERY cold!)
- Mark your gift with a B or C in the top right-hand corner of each parcel: B = $15 - $20; C = $20 - $25. We ask you to do this so that we can give the “richer” gifts to the less fortunate seafarers.
We sometimes receive parcels that are poorly wrapped or that contain used items that should not be used as a gift. Please, give of your best, not of what you no longer want or need.
A Word About Women Seafarers
There are very few women in the shipping industry. We rarely need to give women's parcels, and when we do, M2S has a small budget to make such parcels as needed. Therefore, we ask that you PLEASE DO NOT SEND ANY PARCELS FOR WOMEN.
You can drop off parcels at our center in the Old Port of Montreal or you can send them by truck or traveler to Montreal and we will meet up with them and get them to the Seafarers’ Center.
When sending the parcels by delivery service, address box(es) to:
Mariners' House/The Ministry to Seafarers
Grand Quai de Montréal
200 rue de la Commune Ouest
Montreal QC H2Y 4B2
When sending by Canada Post:
The Ministry to Seafarers of the CRC
PO Box 128, Place D’Armes
Montreal, QC H2Y 3E9