HMCS Charlottetown helps local orphanage in Chania, Greece

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Navy News / December 20, 2016

By Lieutenant (Navy) Benoit Plante

Thirty-five crew members from Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Charlottetown visited a local orphanage in Chania, Greece, on December 10, 2016, to do some work and spend time with the kids. They also brought Santa Claus with them, and he offered gifts to the kids.

This initiative was led by HMCS Charlottetown’s Padre, Lieutenant (Navy) Haupi Tombing, and supported by the logistics department. He thought it would be great if the ship could help a local organization and also bring some joy to children during the Christmas season. 

“The ship’s company was really excited with the project. The sign-up sheet filled quickly and we even had to refuse some people as we didn’t have enough space to bring everyone on the bus,” said Padre Tombing.

After some research, the Padre found a group called Young People of Chania. This organization operates orphanages in Chania , for boys and girls separately. One of these is an orphanage for boys called Branch of Protecting Children.

“Following a discussion with the director, we went to the boys’ orphanage. Currently, they have 31 boys living there,” said Padre Tombing. “The main goal of the organization is to providing shelter, education and guidance so that the boys can finish high school or college and stand on their own feet.”

The crew members did an astounding amount of work in and around the large playground in the backyard of the orphanage. They repainted the basketball net support structures and guard rails around the stairs, repaired broken bicycles, picked-up a large amount of garbage left on the ground, and did some landscaping and gardening.

Following the manual work, everyone gathered inside the orphanage for some music and Christmas carols. A few minutes later, Santa Claus arrived and all of the children received gifts.

“That was a great day. It was Christmas in true Canadian spirit: giving!  We achieved a large amount of work and made the backyard and playground a much more inviting place for the kids of the orphanage,” concluded Padre Tombing. “The work took us half a day, but the impact will most likely remain with the kids for long time.”

HMCS Charlottetown is currently deployed on Operation REASSURANCE in support of NATO’s assurance and deterrence measures through the provision of military capabilities for training, exercises, demonstrations and assigned NATO tasks. Charlottetown has a crew of approximately 250 personnel of all ranks, including a CH-124 Sea King helicopter and air detachment.