While preparing this article, I noticed that our initial press release, written by the wonderful Sarah Forge, was dated 12 February 2019 so we have just celebrated our second birthday which seems a good moment to review our progress to date, to thank all the people who have helped us along the way and to invite you all to continue to do so in what will be another challenging year for us all.
As a group of ex-yachties, we were all aware that we and the rest of the superyacht community were mostly in a fortunate position where we could do something to help people in need on the beautiful island we call home and it very quickly became apparent that many other people felt the same.
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
Although we started off as a simple food-raising campaign, this expanded quickly as the yachts began to offer us unwanted uniforms, towels and bedding, toiletries and galley equipment etc. We learned to say yes to everything that was working and in good condition and then find a home for it. We soon found that the local charities could find a use for almost everything we collected which means we only discard a tiny percentage of what we receive.
WHO ARE WE DOING IT FOR?
Mallorca’s homeless, hungry and other people in need are helped by many charities and we are proud to support the great work being done by Assocació Tardor, (soup kitchen, food bank and two homeless shelters) Mallorca Sense Fam (food bank and charity shop) Es Refugi (homeless shelter and soup kitchen) Can Gaza (Homeless shelter and charity shop) JoyRon Foundation (helping children in need across Mallorca) Shambhala Foundation (supporting young people in need) and SOS Mamas (helping mothers with little or no income and their children)
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?
During the pandemic the number of people in need has increased dramatically.
“109,900 people ended 2020 out of work in the Balearics, that’s 47,200 more than at the end of 2019 and a rise of 75.2%. The number of households in the Balearics with all members unemployed has doubled from 18,300 at the end of 2019 to 36,600 at the end of 2020”. (Labour Force Survey by National Statistics Office – Majorca Daily Bulletin Jan 29, 2021)
The resulting increase in poverty on our wonderful island is already being seen and felt, especially by our friends at Assocació Tardor. Their soup kitchen feeds around 1,000 people daily and they have recently added a food bank which, together with Mallorca Sense Fam, is helping many hundreds of families with food, toiletries, sanitary products, cleaning products, baby food and nappies.
“ONG Medicos del Mundo, has attended 40% more people living on the streets of Palma during the pandemic compared to the same period the year before”. (Ultima Hora 24.11.2020)
The shelters we support are all full, the shanty town style dwellings under the bridges of the Via Cintura and elsewhere have increased hugely, and even the relatively wealthy area of Calvià is now home to two food banks helping people affected by the huge impact of the pandemic on the tourism industry in Magaluf, Palma Nova and Santa Ponsa.
HOW ARE WE DOING THIS?
Although our first anniversary roughly coincided with the arrival of the pandemic, we had by this time built up a wide-ranging network of supporters across the marine industry and beyond which meant that we were able to react quickly to the changing needs of people who were struggling.
When homeless people were taken off the streets and housed in draughty sports halls, we were able to respond immediately with large quantities of warm clothes, blankets, books and toiletries and, when the weather improved, we delivered t-shirts, flip-flops and sun cream!
Also, during the strict lockdown, when we could no longer deliver material support, we immediately set up a GoFundMe account which raised €14,000 and meant that, together with many wonderful direct donations, we were still able to supply food and funds where needed.
Although the pandemic restrictions meant we lost a wide range of planned collaborations including those with the Palma Boat Show, the Superyacht Cup, the Oyster Regatta, the TP 52 Super Series and weekly food collections from both Sunsail and Dream Yacht Charters, the GoFundMe campaign was a massive and most welcome boost.
As soon as the restrictions allowed, the yachts started to cook meals for Tardor. This was the brilliant idea of Jan Richards on SY Panthalassa whose initiative inspired her fellow chefs to follow suit including Karine on Explora, Alex and Fedra on Kenora, Maira on Tillakkana, Luca on Pacific, Kristy on Tilac, Julia on New Waves, Seanna on Kealoha, Libby on Astra V, Silvia on Delta One and Kurt on Vava. This very impressive team have provided around 2,500 meals for the homeless with the great assistance of Evolution Yacht Agents who regularly sent their refrigerated van to help with collections.
Despite the pandemic, the Radio OneMallorca Radiothon was another great success, as was their Christmas campaign, and Richie and Ayesha are still doing regular shopping trips for Tardor with the proceeds.
Red Dragon once again invited us to help with their longstanding annual Christmas campaign collecting donations for homeless shelters.
The Superyacht Charities, having lost their usual annual fundraising dinners, held a brilliant virtual triathlon based at Gym Marine and still managed to send us a very generous donation.
6 Points Cycling Challenges held a fundraising event in December (for which we were able to raise matching funding from EQ Investors in London) and nominated us as one of their chosen charities for 2021.
OmniAccess invited their very generous staff to donate foodstuffs and toiletries at Christmas and added a major donation from the company itself.
Throughout all this the yachts and the wider community also just kept on giving back. We collected sufficient bedding to furnish Tardor’s second homeless shelter along with TVs, microwaves, washing machines and dryers, computers and more. The two shelters, Llar Inge and Llar Kurt are now home to 110 people.
All this material takes up a lot of space and we are especially grateful to STP for donating our “head office” shipping container inside the yard without which we could not operate at anything like the level we do. At a conservative estimate over 30 tons of material have passed through it. In addition, we now have been given more long-term storage by Planet Space allowing us to start accumulating bedding for what we hope will soon be the third shelter.
Big thanks to SR Polish and Antifouling for storage space and to the force of nature that is Danielle Kennedy for her wonderful fundraising efforts on our behalf.
We have had great donations from so many yachts from Arenal to Andraitx including Lady Rose, Blue Bird, Tatasu, Vava, Palladium and Pacific and with a special mention to Jeremy Hance the heroic captain of Paraiso.
Medical Support Offshore (MSOS) for two exceptional donations which have been a massive boost to our ability to help the various charities.
Pinmar and Pinmar Supply have supported us from the outset, initially with storage space and handing out our collection boxes though their shops, and with a great donation from the Pinmar Golf Charity Fund. Pinmar Yacht Supply in the persons of Liz Wood and Gitte Jenshoj continue to help source essential items with great service and very kind discounts.
Master Yachts, Modesty Yacht Carpentry, Blevins Franks Charitable Foundation and the Foggies Golf Society have also made very generous donations.
MTSea Marina Refrigeration have given us consistent and very generous support including the donation and installation of a new AC unit to Shambhala and drinking water filtration systems in the two Tardor homeless shelters.
A massive thank you to all our wonderful volunteers at our monthly food collections at the Bendinat Eroski. Since July last year Eroski’s generous customers have donated just over 100 trolleys full of food and toiletries and nearly €1,000 in cash.
We would not have been able to deliver anything like as much as we have if people were unaware of our activities so we are especially grateful to the following for their support: Simon at The Islander, Jason and Humphrey at the Mallorca Daily Bulletin, Richie, Ayesha and Jo at Radio OneMallorca, Rhea at Yachting International Radio, Maeve and Dave at Superyacht Radio, Carlos, Kay and Adrian at Calviá Radio, Sarah Forge, Vicky Macleod, Oliver Neilson and also Lars Molin of the huge Palma Yacht Crew Facebook Group
WHO ARE WE?
Since I keep saying we it’s about time I explained who “we” are. We are my initial team of fellow pensioners Dennis “The Container King” Moshofsky and Paddy “The Safety Man” Pigden who were soon joined by Louise “The Facebook Wizard” Balfour (definitely not a pensioner!) and more recently Anne Nielsen, Aila Bell and Maia Lyn-Simmora and not forgetting David “The Secret Weapon” Wright whose contacts in the hotel industry have been incredibly supportive despite their own obvious difficulties. They are an inspiring team of volunteers and I am very grateful to them all.
I want to thank everyone mentioned here not just from me and my lovely colleagues but from the people for whom we and they and you have done all this. Every time we go to one of the charities we support, we are greeted with big smiles because we generally have our hands full of food, or clothing or any of the other essentials that our lovely supporters give to us and which we are very proud to deliver on your behalf.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Donate food when you see a collection trolley in your local supermarket.
Donate directly to us food, which must be unopened and in date, clean clothing and bedding, toiletries, nappies, cleaning materials etc. (We are not taking any more toys for the time being as all the charities were inundated with them over Christmas and Reyes.)
The Yachting Gives Back container inside the STP shipyard is open to receive donations on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 0930-1030.
If you cannot get to the yard, please contact me and we will arrange to collect.
Donate directly to the Yachting Gives Back bank account:
Bankia: IBAN ES81 2038 3480 5160 0019 8061
With zero overheads, every Euro donated will be put to good use helping Mallorca’s people in need.
Please help us to help those in need.
Mob: 619 117937