Christmas Eve is proving busy for the Seafarers Missions in our region.

Those are the people who care for sailors who are not anywhere close to home for the holidays.

For instance, eight Honduran sailors are trying to make the best of an unexpected stay in Halifax.

They arrived a week ago aboard a tugboat that was inspected and found to have deficiencies.

The crew ran out of supplies, but they’ve been getting a lot of help from the community.

“A lot of people are coming forward with offers of support,” says Maggie Whittingham-Lamont of the Halifax Seafarers Mission. “We do have enough clothing for these gentlemen now. The immediate need is still of a practical nature as far as food and water.”  

The tug’s captain says conditions for the crew are improving.

“They’re okay, thanks to God,” says tugboat captain Milton Tavora. “Thanks to Miss Maggie and the people from Canada, they’re happy now.”

In Saint John this is shaping-up to be a busy season for people providing a home away from home for seafarers.

Over the Christmas season, the port of Saint John will be visited by several ships from around the world, and by the looks of things, the sailors who stop in the city will be well cared for.  

Bev Sullivan is filling a toque with dozens of treats and personal items. They’re going to be gift packages given to visiting seamen.  

“They’re very kind and they’re very appreciative,” explains Bev Sullivan, manager of the Saint John Seafarers Mission. “They find it hard to believe that people who don’t know them, all the donors that we have, would think of them at Christmas time.”

These toques will be distributed to sailors on a ship that is now in port loading scrap metal.

“Makes you feel part of a culture of people interested to help somebody who is lonely and farm away from home,” says Rev. Theodore Efthimiadis, chaplain of the Saint John Seafarers Mission.

Meantime, the Honduran sailors continue to receive assistance from the Halifax Seafarers Mission. The tug’s owner is expected in Halifax later this week to start the repair process.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.