Oprah Winfrey isn't the only one who can make claims to "The Big Give". Holland America Line, in a move that serves ecological, economical and charitable interests at the same time, has come up with an ingenious community program – the first of its kind in the
nation: Operation Ship to Shelter.
Along with co-sponsors The Port of Seattle, United States Customs and Border Protection, Cruise Terminals of America and Northwest Harvest, Holland America Line will donate reusable goods from its ships sailing from Seattle this summer to Washington state charities in need. Weekly donations will consist of individual-sized toiletries along with other goods as well, including televisions, towels, bedding, cookware, silverware and mattresses.
The program kicked off yesterday with Oosterdam donating hundreds of items to Northwest Harvest. A Holland America ship will be in port at Pier 30 each week with a donation for Northwest Harvest, the only statewide hunger relief agency in Washington. As a non-profit organization receiving no city, state or federal monies, Northwest Harvest relies solely on donations and contributions from the public, businesses and foundations.
“There is an incredible need for basic toiletry items in the homeless community, especially in our women's shelters,” said Shelley Rotondo, executive director of Northwest Harvest. “We often take the availability of these items on a daily basis for granted. The Ship to Shelter program will help fulfill this need for many.”
Holland America Line's Amsterdam will be in port on May 16; along with the toiletries, contributions will include dishes, knives and cake pans.
The program will operate continuously from May through September.
--by Jana Jones, Cruise Critic Contributor