NEWS

Christmas gifts delivered to sailors in Port of Vancouver

12/17/2012 10:41 EST | Updated 02/16/2013 05:12 EST
Vancouver's Flying Angels Club is once again delivering Christmas to the hundreds of sailors who find themselves far from home and family.

The club is part of the Mission to Seafarers, started by the Church of England in around 1858. In Vancouver, the Flying Angels Club is a place where sailors can meet, make calls and connect family and friends back home.

Port Chaplain Rev. Nick Parker says the group delivers about 2,500 gift packages to sailors aboard ships in the Port of Vancouver every year at Christmas.

"I remember one time going up and they were all thrilled,” he said.

“They they gathered around and we handed out the gifts and then all of a sudden one smart guy saw the coat rack and produced Styrofoam colored balls, jammed them on the coat pegs and they all gathered around with all their presents and made it their Christmas tree."

Parker says the tradition of giving gifts means everything to the sailors who are away from home and family for nine months at a time.

"They are very appreciative,” he said. “We have had sailors break down in tears. We have had captains come out on the wings to thanks us."

Parker says donations to the Mission to Seafarers are always appreciated.

“Even small things like magazines — the sailors love recent magazines of the suitable type,” he said. “They can practice their English skills and understand a little bit about who and what we are.”

Parker says there are as many as 800 sailors in the Port of Vancouver every day.

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