Ahoy! from the Townships
Locals head to Quebec City port bearing gifts
Members of St. George’s Anglican Church and other locals were up at the crack of dawn yesterday morning to board a bus headed for Quebec City and deliver ‘sailor boxes’.
For close to 30 years, the congregation and other participating local churches have been donating shoe boxes filled with toiletries, mitts, hats, and other cold weather essentials to the organization La Maison du Marin.
The boxes are distributed to sailors
from all over the world who pass through Quebec City around Christmas.
According to organizer Kathleen Hartwell, close to 200 boxes were collected this year to deliver to La Maison du Marin, along with additional donations of warm clothing.
They were assembled and donated by the Anglican churches of Ayer’s Cliff, Coaticook, Bury, Richmond and St. George’s in Lennoxville.
The boxes are wrapped like Christmas gifts.
“Apparently it’s a real hoot when they open them in Quebec City,” Hartwell said.
The sailors that pass through the Quebec City port come from all over the world. Some have been away at sea for long stretches of time, and many are not equipped with clothing for a Canadian winter.
La Maison du Marin provides a list of suggestions of things to include in the boxes like gloves, hats, socks; any other comforts people could think of (chocolate, playing cards, toiletries) are also welcome.
“We’ve been going to Quebec City since the early 1990s,” Hartwell said. “We make a day of it.”
In total, 56 Townshippers took the trip yesterday to deliver the boxes. They boarded a bus in front of St. Georges in Lennoxville at around 6:30 a.m. and continued on to Richmond to pick up other passengers on the way to the port.
Upon arrival, Hartwell said they are usually greeted in Quebec City with coffee and donuts. After a brief tour of La Maison du Marin, they drop off the sailor boxes and clothing donations, and then head into the city for some shopping, sight seeing and lunch.
By 3:15 p.m. Hartwell said the group then hits the road again. They make their way to Inverness for dinner.
“The Ladies Auxiliary will serve us the most delightful supper,” Hartwell said. They also have jams, jellies and other preserves available for sale, she added.
The bus rolls back into town around 8:15 p.m.
“We only hit snow once,” commented Hartwell.
Some people in the group have been taking the trip every year since St. George’s started the tradition.
“It’s a delightful day that everyone seems to enjoy,” she said.
Donna Garfat and Kathleen Hartwell, two of the organizers of St. George’s Anglican Church’s annual trip to Quebec City to deliver ‘sailor boxes.’ Wrapped like Christmas gifts, the boxes, containing warm clothing, toiletries and small gifts are distributed to sailors passing through the port around Christmas.