Gladstone's generous Christmas cheer for visiting sailors
OVER two hundred international sailors will be spending Christmas Day in Gladstone far from home and their family and friends.
Jess Mulhall from The Mission to Seafarers is on a personal mission to boost their spirits while they're here.
"The Mission has traditionally given gifts to any sailors who happen to be in port at Christmas time,” she said.
"But this is the first year we've reached out to the community and businesses to help us.”
Ms Mulhall approached Gladstone's churches and they quickly got onboard.
"The Churches put out a call to their schools and St John the Baptist Primary School made 200 calico bags and hand-painted them,” she said.
"The kids worked in their spare time and did an amazing job.
"Chanel College students made 700 hand-painted Christmas cards with pictures, quotes and personal messages.
"We thought it would take them weeks, but they really got stuck in and finished the projects in less than a week.
"It was a great opportunity to teach them about community spirit as well as how important international shipping is to Gladstone.”
Ladies from the Anglican diocese, some from churches as far away as Emerald, also pitched in by hand-knitting over 200 beanies for the sailors.
"It's just amazing, they've been knitting all year,” Ms Mulhall said.
"The beanies will be greatly appreciated because most of the ships leaving Gladstone will be sailing to the northern hemisphere where it's very cold at the moment.”
Meanwhile, students from Designer Life had been scouring Gladstone for unwanted Christmas trees and tinsel.
"We've collected enough now to give to 46 trees to visiting ships prior to Christmas,” Ms Mulhall said.
"Also, the Designer Life team have been busy in the kitchen as well making over 600 rum balls.”
Ms Mulhall said plenty of local businesses were keen to donate goodies to help fill the Christmas bags as well.
"Some of it is promotional stock like water bottles, USB sticks and the like,” she said.
"Bunnings came onboard with bits and pieces and local optometrists donated sun glasses.
"The sailors may be a long way from home but we're hoping to make their lives a little bit merrier this year.”
Ms Mulhall said if anyone wishing to donate gifts should contact The Mission to Seafarers Gladstone on 49720022.
"Give us a call, we'll be happy to come and pick it up too,” she said.
Approximately 50,000 international sailors visit Gladstone Harbour every year.