Care packages support vulnerable seafarers during pandemic

Care packages support vulnerable seafarers during pandemic

Many of the seafarer community, who are responsible for delivering over 95 per cent of Australia’s food and materials, have been away from their families for over 12 months due to the on-going COVID19 pandemic.

Being unable to depart their vessels to see their loved ones or purchase basic essentials, due to strict legislation, has taken a toll on the mental health of crew members.

To boost morale, Gladstone Seafarers Centre have been working hard to provide welfare packages, including hygiene products and entertainment items, to these crews.

Each week local volunteers put together these care packages and deliver them to the parked vessels in Gladstone Harbor, with items sourced through donations or purchased directly by the centre.

Their job has been made a little easier with a recent donation of over $69,000 worth of product, including hand sanitizer and wipes, from Dettol Australia.

Gladstone Seafarers Centre Manager Melinda Anderson said showing “our care and appreciation for the work that seafarers do is so important”.

“The donation from Dettol has allowed our team of volunteers to provide crew members with hygiene essentials that they wouldn’t have otherwise had access to,” she said.

“With crews onboard living in tight quarters, the provision of essential hygiene products as part of these packages has made a significant impact, enhancing health and hygiene standards, and promoting the safety of the crew and their living environment.

“Thank you to Dettol Australia for their generous donation and support of our seafarer community, we would be really lost without the support of our corporate sponsors.”

This year Dettol will partner with Good360 to reach over 75 charities, disadvantaged schools and community groups to donate more than $7 million worth of hygiene products.

“This is part of Dettol’s ongoing mission to close the hygiene gap in Australia,” Dettol Marketing Director Henry Turgoose said.

Melinda said the centre always welcomed donations from community members, particularly boredom busters.

“We love donations of magazines, books, decks of cards, puzzles and games, as these enrich the lives of seafarers and are things they don’t always have access to,” she said.

The Gladstone Seafarers Centre, formerly Mission to Seafarers Gladstone, was established in 1970, and is always on the lookout for new volunteers to join their team.

“The more volunteers we have, the more programs we can offer in our community, particularly while we don’t have seafarers in our centre,” Melinda said.

For more information contact them on 4972 0355 or email manager@gladstonemts.org.au.