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Ferry employees host annual Holiday Cruise

Published:2018-12-18 State
Ferry employees host annual Holiday Cruise    Print Snohomish Times    
Ferry employees host annual Holiday Cruise

SEATTLE- For 33 years, members of the Washington State Ferries Active Ferry Employees Charitable Trust (AFECT) have donned holiday sweaters and partnered with local charities to host a cruise on the ferry Tacoma around Seattle’s Elliott Bay for those with disabilities.


Yesterday nearly 700 guests attended the AFECT holiday cruise including residents of Fircrest Residential Habilitation Center and their families and caretakers. Guests danced to music provided by local bands and ukulele players, visited with clowns, climbed on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and took pictures with Santa. Refreshments were donated by ferry food vendor Centerplate.


The annual Holiday Cruise is completely funded through donations, including the fuel to run the boat and the gifts presented to attendees. This event would not be possible without the donations of time by dozens of ferry employees – including an entire crew and partnerships with local non-profits, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the state Department of Social and Health Services.


Partners include:


  • Seafair Clowns
  • Toys for Tots
  • US Marine Corps
  • US Coast Guard
  • Fircrest Residential Habilitation Center- guests
  • DSHS - guests
  • Friendship Adventures
  • Boy Scouts
  • Seattle Ukulele Players Association
  • Sophisticated Swing Jazz Band
  • Maxum Petroleum
  • Centerplate


Fircrest Residential Habilitation Center, established in 1959, provides support to about 200 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in a residential setting. Located in Shoreline, just north of Seattle, Fircrest School has excellent access to the major medical and educational facilities that support the individuals who reside at Fircrest.


AFECT, a volunteer group made up entirely of Washington State Ferries employees, was established in the late 1980s after a ferries employee who had a family member residing at Fircrest noticed a number of residents didn’t have family members with them for the holidays. This led to the idea of a holiday cruise, which offers a way for employees to help fellow employees and their families in times of need created by unforeseen circumstances.

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