The Giving Season and Our Waterfront's Neediest

During the holiday season, many working waterfront stakeholders are giving generously to the Seaman's Church Institute, North America's largest mariner's service agency.

During the holiday season, the Seafarerís Ministry of the Golden Gate visits seafarers on ship, provides communication resources such as internet and phone cards, and welcomes visitors to the International Maritime Center. Photo courtesy of International Maritime Center

BY PATRICK BURNSON

 

During the holiday season, many working waterfront stakeholders are giving generously to the Seaman’s Church Institute, North America’s largest mariner’s service agency. Here in the Bay Area, its ecumenical partner is the Seafarer’s Ministry of the Golden Gate (SMGG).

 

Founded in San Francisco in 1946 as the Scandinavian Seamen’s Mission, the SMGG responds to the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of seafarers and port workers in San Francisco Bay. The organization is located at the Port of Oakland, where its chaplain visits seafarers on ship, provides communication resources such as internet and phone cards, and welcomes visitors to the International Maritime Center (IMC).  

 

The IMC is a place of sanctuary for seafarers away from their cargo vessels. It’s a place where they can call home, play games and visit with volunteers. Transportation to local shopping is another service provided by SMGG.

 

In a statement of purpose, SMGG provided our readers with the following:

 

“Seafarers appreciate our friendly atmosphere, chaplain and volunteers because they have rated us as one of the top three centers in the world. The future of SMGG is brighter and more important than ever. Since 2008, SMGG and its partner organizations on average visit 450 ships and minister to more than 4,000 seafarers per year.

 

“The seafarers are away from their home, family and friends for up to nine months or more per contract period, and they may go several months without setting foot on land. Since September 11, 2001, it is now difficult, if not impossible, for many seafarers to leave their ships while in the United States.  

 

“Their pay is very low, piracy on the high seas is real and sometimes the shipping companies refuse to pay the seafarers. Life is lonely and dangerous and this is why SMGG chaplains, staff and volunteers will continue to provide spiritual comfort, counseling and occasional interventions where particularly onerous situations are uncovered. We will do this for as long as there are seafarers travelling the oceans.”  

 

For more information, see www.smgg.org.

 

Waterfront Organizations to Host Holiday Mixer and Food Drive

The Pacific Transportation Association and Women in Logistics have long been ardent boosters of the SMGG, but this is not the only charity they support. Every year at this time, these two vibrant business associations get together to stage their annual holiday mixer and food drive.

 

This party helps those in need in the Bay Area. With the recent wildfires, food assistance is at high demand throughout our community. Previous holiday mixers have raised more than $2,500 and obtained thousands of canned and boxes food items for Bay Area families. The benefit also contributes to the Alameda County Community Food Bank and Alameda Meals on Wheels.

 

Staged on December 6 at Trader Vic’s in Emeryville, the mixer will draw more than 100 attendees, who will enjoy a hosted holiday spread and the chance to win one of more than 35 raffle prizes. Attendees are encouraged to bring canned or boxed food items. A raffle ticket will be given in return. Raffle tickets may also be purchased online.

 

For more information, see www.womeninlogistics.org and pacifictrans.org.

 

Port of San Francisco Hosts Delancey Street Christmas Tree Lot

The Port of San Francisco is again doing its part to contribute this giving season by hosting the Delancey Street Christmas tree lot on Pier 32—a tradition kept by the port for the past 25 years.

 

Delancey Street is one of the country’s leading residential self-help organizations for former substance abusers, ex-convicts, homeless and others who have hit bottom. Started in 1971 with four people in a San Francisco apartment, Delancey Street has served many thousands of residents in five locations throughout the United States. Residents at Delancey Street range from teenagers to senior citizens, and include men and women and all races and ethnicities. The average resident has been a hardcore drug and alcohol abuser, has been in prison, is unskilled, is functionally illiterate and has a personal history of violence and generations of poverty.

 

The minimum stay at Delancey Street is two years and the average resident remains for almost four years—drug, alcohol and crime-free. During their time at Delancey Street, residents obtain a high school equivalency degree (GED) and are trained in three different marketable skills. Beyond academic and vocational training, residents learn important values and the social and interpersonal skills that allow them to live successfully in the mainstream of society.

 

Delancey Street has several different enterprises, including its restaurant and cafe, catering services, moving services and its holiday tradition—the tree lots. Conducted each year only between Thanksgiving and Christmas, this brief holiday promotion is an important training school in the basics of sales, particularly for new residents.

 

For more information, see delanceytrees.org and sfport.com/event/delancey-street-christmas-tree-lot-2.

 

Patrick Burnson is the executive editor of Logistics Management. www.logisticsmgmt.com