PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

December 20, 2012

Students help brighten holiday for seafarers

PORT ARTHUR — The students, all members of the Umoja group and Students Against Destructive Decisions, first covered shoe boxes at Port Arthur Seafarers’ Center with bright Christmas wrapping paper, then last Saturday they filled those boxes with a variety of personal care items.

The presents will be presented to merchant mariners who come through the Port of Port Arthur during the Christmas season.

Those items include shaving cream, socks, toothpaste and toothbrush, razors, pencils and pens and a variety of donated free sampler items. Topping off each box is a hand-knitted cap, donated by a group of  knitters headed by Rose Patronella.

“It’s fun,” said Joshua McCrea, a MHS sophomore. “I get to have something to do on Saturdays and for a good cause.”

“And we’re glad to have them,” said Lorraine Blanchard, Port Arthur Seafarers’ Center volunteer.

Haley Pitre, MHS junior, said the project “helps people less fortunate than us.”

Hope Scott, sponsor of the group and a web-mastering teacher in the MHS career and technology program, said the groups got involved after a friend of hers worked at the center and suggested the partnership with the school.

“We want to keep (the seafarers) happy,” Scott said. “They spend so much money in our community, and they need to know we care about them.”

In addition to McCrea and Pitre, students who turned out last Saturday included seniors Tina Nguyen (MHS student body president,) Wilson Ngo (president of Umoja,) Tai Le, Michelle Pham, Bao Vo, Hieu Pham and Quang Hoang.

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