One non-profit from the Hostess City is looking for a new way to let the region’s renowned hospitality shine.
With a little generosity from the community, a new fundraiser will help make those dreams a reality.
"Savannah Maritime Matters," will be an evening of savory libations, delicious foods, and spirited live music Friday, Nov. 13 at the Ships of the Sea Museum.
Visitors will experience a flavorful dinner prepared by local Chef Nick Mueller, live music provided by The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra, and socially-distant tours of the museum.
The evening serves as the inaugural fundraiser for Maritime Bethel Savannah, a faith-based Christian nonprofit organization which since 2007 has been providing "far away from home" support to seafarers who visit the Port of Savannah on ships from across the globe.
The group provides emotional, spiritual, and personal support for sailors who come to Savannah often from thousands of miles away – with little notion of where to worship or find fellowship.
The fundraising event aims to raise money for a capital campaign geared at developing a new facility to support the group’s efforts by acquiring the main building of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Garden City and three acres of land, as well extra space to serve as a temporary facility and sanctuary for seafarers.
It’s all aimed at making the stays of visiting sailors, however long, a little more comfortable and welcoming as the Savannah Port continues to see increased traffic and visitors.
"Many seafarers are only in Savannah for six to twelve hours after only seeing water and industrial ports with no natural beauty for weeks on end," shared John Houchens, Maritime Bethel Savannah’s executive director.
"Usually seafarers want someone to listen to them, counsel them, and pray with them - and this is a vital part of our mission."
The groups says there is a growing need for hospitality and spiritual support facilities to assist the growing needs of visiting sailors to the Port of Savannah.
The port is the largest single-operator and fastest-growing container terminal in America with over 78,000 seafarers and 4,200 ships visiting Savannah each year.
While many other international ports have centers for seafarers to access Wi-Fi to communicate with relatives, enjoy a meal, shower, or do laundry, Savannah currently does not have such facilities for visiting sailors, the group states.
With the "Savannah Maritime Matters" fundraiser, Maritime Bethel Savannah and its supporters hope to change that and bring a new way to highlight the welcoming spirit Savannah is known for.
"We are very excited to host our inaugural fundraising dinner to invite the local community to join us in our vision of being a ‘Home away from Home’ for seafarers, the port community, Savannah tourists and mission-minded Christians," Houchens added.
Tickets for the fundraiser are $75 per person or $500 for a table of eight, with sponsorship packages available starting at $1,000 and up.
To purchase tickets or to become a sponsor, contact John Houchens at (770) 315-6462, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the group’s website at www.maritimebethelsavannah.com.