by Carrie Christensen, Special Events Coordinator
The Seamen's Church Institute (SCI) held its annual Christmas at Sea Gala & Auction on Tuesday, November 30. Guests embraced the event after a brief hiatus due to the 175th Anniversary Gala having been held in its place last year. SCI hosted the affair at the Union League Club in New York City where 175 friends and supporters of the Institute raised $131,626 for SCI.
This beloved event celebrates the work of the Christmas at Sea knitting program, which distributes over 17,000 gifts to mariners working during the holidays. SCI operates the oldest continuous volunteer knitting program in the country. The program, like the Gala, brings to light the life of mariners working through the holidays. SCI has delivered Christmas gifts filled with handknit items and necessities for the last 112 years.
The Gala featured both a silent and a live auction, as well as the very popular game "Message in a Bottle," which sold out in record time! A vitality filled the room that night. To get them to raise their virtual bidding paddles (bids were tracked this year through iPod Touches), leaders earnestly roused the crowd. Rich du Moulin, Vice Chairman of SCI's Board of Trustees, surprised guests as the "blue man" auctioneer, appearing in blue paint to pitch the first item-tickets to a Blue Man Group performance.
Thanks to all who contributed so generously that evening.