The Ministry to Seafarers (M2S)

#GivingTuesday: Keep your money today; We want your voice instead!

An Open Letter to Our Donors and Supporters

Dear Friends,
You have been incredibly generous, supportive and responsive in these unprecedented times. When we told you how the pandemic was affecting seafarers who are being denied shore leave and/or crew changes, you responded with prayer, financial support, Christmas parcels and messages of encouragement for us and the seafarers. Your actions have had a positive impact on all of us and we can't adequately thank you for your hearts of compassion.

In fact, we are feeling so filled up with gratitude that it's spilling over. So we want to both deflect attention away from our ministry today and invite you to join us in supporting the wider cause of all Canadian charities with your big hearts of compassion.

We have joined the Canada Cares campaign to call upon the federal government to implement a 1:1 matching donation program to sustain the charitable sector across the country. A matching fund has the capacity to double the impact of donations made by ordinary Canadians, empowering the charitable sector to survive COVID-19. What we love about this is that it's a hand-up, not a hand-out. It affirms the essential work of charities.

We've compiled a few ways that you can use your voice this year on GivingTuesday. We know that many of you will want to give to us anyway, so we've included creative ways you can do that too. But we're serious when we say, we want you to keep your money today. Please take the time it would take to make an online donation and use that time instead to raise your voice!

Thank you for your generous support and timely engagement. We couldn't do our work without you!

The M2S team (Michelle, David & Patty)

1. Raise your voice

Join the Canada Cares campaign. Voices raised together are more effective than lone voices.

Contact your Member of Parliament and ask them to support the 1:1 matching donation program. Don't know what to say exactly? Here's one suggestion:
To [Name of MP]:
I am joining forces with other charities and partners in the charitable sector across Canada to support the Canada Cares Campaign (CanadaCaresCampaign.ca), a digital campaign mobilizing Canadians to call for a 1:1 matching funds program by the federal government.
Charities across Canada have stepped up in a big way throughout this pandemic. In dark clouds of despair and uncertainty, Canada’s charities have been a ray of hope. 


Charities from coast to coast to coast have met the urgent call to help their community – from food banks making sure their community doesn’t miss a meal to charities ensuring that Canadians are taking care of their mental health as much as their physical health. 

Since the start of the pandemic, charities are experiencing significant declines in revenue with donations going down. That is why we are asking for your support in our advocacy. Through a matching funds program, research has shown that donations increase by 20%. Canada’s charities are not asking for a hand-out – they are asking for a hand-up.

The charitable and non-profit sectors account for more than 8% of Canada's Gross Domestic Product. Every day counts when it comes to ensuring Canada’s charities can survive COVID-19 and support the country’s recovery efforts. With your help, we can get the campaign off to a strong start and build nation-wide support for the creation of a 1:1 matching funds program.

We ask that you speak up in support of this initiative. Together, we will get through the challenge in front of us and build habits on the path to meeting our potential as a generous nation.

Sincerely,
[Your name, city and contact information]

2. Tell your story

Did you know that 90% of all you use and own passes through the proverbial hands of a seafarer? How has their work behind the scenes impacted you? Did you order something special recently that arrived just in time to make someone happy? What item in your life couldn't you live without? Have you had a life saving experience during the pandemic? Tell your story and use the hashtag #seafarersmatter to thank them. We have seafarers following us on Instagram so mention @m2smtl too!

3. Pack a Christmas parcel

Did you know that M2S distributes Christmas parcels to every foreign seafarer docking in the Port of Montreal? Gifts are delivered directly to ships by our chaplains. You can personally thank a seafarer by preparing a gift or donating to our Pack a Virtual Parcel campaign

4. Donate used winter clothing (for men)

Shore leave is essential to a seafarers' health and well-being. But the cold weather can hamper a seafarer from leaving his ship. Since many seafarers come from warm climates like India or the Philippines they can't purchase warm clothes in their home countries. We provide them with jackets, scarves, hats and gloves so that they can take a break from life and work on their ship and enjoy a trip to the Seafarers' Centre and a walk outside. Your donations of gently used warm clothing makes this possible. Sizes S-L are preferred and items can be dropped off at Mariners' House on the Grand Quai de Montreal, 200 rue de la Commune ouest, H2Y 4B2 from Monday-Friday, 12-6 PM. 

5. Share our mission

Did you know that the pandemic has caused a growing humanitarian crisis at sea? There are more than 300,000 seafarers who are unable to have a crew change due to travel restrictions. For those stuck at home, it means they have no income. For those at sea, it means they've been stuck on the job for longer than the 11-month allowable contract limits. As the pandemic lengthens, there is no end in sight for them.

One way to change this narrative is for there to be international recognition of seafarers as ‘key workers’. Key workers would be able to obtain visas and other paperwork on a timely basis, transit through various countries with no hassle and travel within their own countries to reach airports and other travel hubs.

We are advocating for seafarers and their right to fair working conditions. We have a place at the table of the newly formed National Seafarers’ Welfare Board. We are proud that Canada has designated seafarers as key workers. But it will take the cooperation of many more countries to facilitate crew changes.  

You can help create momentum by actively engaging with us on social media, sharing our content and promoting the welfare of seafarers in your own circles of influence.

Remember...

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