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Basketeers programs helps women transitioning from shelters to their own space

Public donates laundry baskets filled with household items someone starting out on their own might need

Guelph-Wellington Basketeers is helping women transition from shelters to their new homes one basket of donated items at a time.

Basketeers is an annual program that sees individuals, work places and organizations donate a laundry basket of needed items that those women would find helpful in setting up their new life.

Guelph-Wellington Basketeers co-ordinator Laura Blinkhorn said anything from small appliances like a tea kettle or hair dryer through things like towels, shampoo or silverware.

“Basically, anything to help these women as they make a new start,” said Blinkhorn. “Kitchen and bathroom items are the most needed.”

She has seen baskets geared towards helping women reintegrate into the workforce – containing a purse and alarm clock. Another basket was geared toward a baby’s needs.

“We ask that a note be attached to the outside listing what’s in the basket (to make sure they get to an appropriate recipient) and we always include a little message of hope in the basket,” Blinkhorn said.

Items must be new and no food or beverages and no sized clothing.

The local Basketeers, part of a network that now spans four provinces and one U.S. state.

Blinkhorn said last year they donated 90 baskets and this year the goal is 120 – one for roughly each of the 120 women that Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis is helping make that transition to a new life.

Basketeers program started in 2000 with one group of people donating 14 baskets to one shelter in Toronto.

Since then it’s grown to helping 54 shelters in Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland, plus a shelter in Georgia. Last year a total of 1,586 baskets were distributed.

The local chapter was started in 2009

This year’s drop-off date is Saturday, Nov. 18, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis, 38 Elizabeth St.

"The shelter supports over 120 families a year. As women start off in their new homes, the most pressing need is for basic kitchen and bathroom supplies,” said Christine Wilson, Residential Progam Manager who organizes things at the Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis end.

“The women who have received the household supplies have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the Basketeers program. Each year more baskets are donated and one day I hope that we can provide for all the families who come to the shelter."

To register to participate go to or contact Blinkhorn at [email protected].


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Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 30 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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