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Basketeers help women in the County to get a fresh start

Support and joy are delivered in addition to niceties and necessities through Basketeers, an initiative that aims to make the lives of women who have experienced abuse a bit brighter.

The nationwide Basketeers project was founded by Cheryl Stoneburgh in 2000 as a volunteer project to assist women as they transition out of shelters and back into the community. Kim Taylor began the Prince Edward County chapter of the gift basket project in support of Alternatives for Women, in 2013.

Following a break last year, Basketeers is back for 2017 to make a difference for women who have experienced violence in their lives, and are clients of Alternatives for Women.

The Picton-based agency provides a range of services and support for women breaking free from violence, including crisis intervention, safety planning, individual and group counselling, as well as a second stage housing program.

The volunteer Basketeers project involves assembling a gift basket of newly-purchased necessities and gift type items in a laundry hamper that is then wrapped in cellophane and decorated. These are later distributed to women in need.

“We are encouraging individuals and groups of friends, family, and co-workers, to get together and create a basket as a simple and enjoyable way to support women in our community,” said Christine Renaud, of Alternatives for Women. Renaud is working with Taylor and Helene Letzler who she says, “have been instrumental in making Basketeers happen in Prince Edward County and are largely responsible for the success of this wonderful program.”

This year, Basketeer Day is Saturday, Nov. 25 from 10am to 4pm at the Bloomfield Town Hall.

“This is the date when filled baskets can be delivered to the hall,” said Renaud. “We hope many people will sign up and create baskets, and then come out to deliver them on the 25th.

“There will be refreshments and a chance to see all of the baskets. We will have a wrapping station set up with all the materials necessary for those who would like to wrap their baskets on site.”

Creative ideas for assembling the baskets, along with lists of suggested items and themes, can be found on the Basketeers website at: basketeers.org. Ideas include gift certificates and vouchers, or “theme” ideas such as:

“Beauty and the Bath”: Blow dryer, brush/comb, towels, bathrobe, shower curtain, toiletries
“Sweet Dreams”: PJs, set of sheets, blanket, pillow, reading lamp, book, clock radio and toiletries
“Dress for Success”: Purse, wallet, cosmetics, day planner, umbrella, clock radio, toiletries
“Kitchen”: Dishes, cutlery, glassware, cook book, kettle, cooking utensils, pots, pans, baking dishes, spices, tea towels, dish soap
“Mix it up”: Think about what you would most need starting from scratch and include a bit of everything

Costs to fill a basket depend on your shopping skills. The average is about $150-$200. Those unable to fill a basket on their own are invited to join with friends or colleagues willing to contribute.

“Anyone or any group interested in contributing to this worthwhile project is asked to contact us so we can include their names on our list of Basketeers, and help us plan for the Nov. 25 event,” said Renaud.

For more information, or to register your basket, e-mail: outreachafw@bellnet.ca or call Alternatives for Women at 613-476-4435.

 

 

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