The Durham Basketeers are preparing for their annual basket collection at the Greenbank Centennial Hall, on November 4th, to help support women who have suffered from domestic violence.
After a woman, who has undergone abuse, finds the courage to leave her living situation, she is often left with only a suitcase of clothing to her name.
To help these women with their fresh start, the Durham Basketeers, focus on creating gift baskets, to help with the transition from the emergency shelter into their new home.
“Basketeers was formed because there are many charities that do help provide for children, but the moms seem to get forgotten. So [we give them,] what we call, a new beginnings basket,” said Cheron Stevens-Hazelton. She added, “With that, it gives them a ray of hope, for the Mom, and a little inspiration, that she can actually start a new life for her and her kids.”
According to Cheron, when these women leave the shelter they are moved into a transitional home, taking whatever belongings they came to the shelter with, so it is often times overwhelming, when trying to start fresh.
“The moms can’t even go into the new home she’s being placed in and open up a can or have a frying pan,” Cheron said. “So kitchen essentials are vital.”
Cheron told the Standard, kitchen essentials, as well as practical things like, gift cards, toiletries, and towels, are very helpful when transitioning these women out of the shelter.
“When I do a basket I like to put in a first aid kit, a small tool kit, a little board game, or something the Moms can sit down with, in the evening, [to] spend some time with the kids and try to restore some normalcy to their life,” Cheron said.
She also encourages those who donate, to not only donate necessities, but to also put things like hot coco, tea, bubble bath, and things the Mom’s might enjoy, into the baskets as well.
She told the Standard, the women who receive these baskets are very grateful and appreciative of the kind gesture.
“They are overwhelmed to the point of tears, when they’re presented with [the baskets], when they leave the shelter,” Cheron said.
Many of the recipients are shocked by how much thought and care a stranger has put into the baskets, for them and their children.
Last year the Durham Basketeers were able to donate 128 baskets, with the help of the community, and are hoping for even more this year.
“Scugog has been an amazing force here, the group of ladies, from Canterbury Commons in Port Perry, have been a driving force with the Basketeers. Last year alone the group of ladies there, had about 30 baskets,” Cheron said.
She is hoping Scugog will be able to donate as many baskets again this year.
“Do it with friends, do it with family, do it with someone that you want to share this with, because it really is a real special feeling knowing we made someone really happy,” Cheron said. “It’s not only a good feeling it’s a lot of fun, trying to get ideas for the baskets, [and figuring out] how you’re going to decorate them. You can let your creativity flow.”
She encourages everyone to help in any way they can, adding that every basket makes an impact in the lives of these women.
“Once people start with donating they do often want to continue. We have repeat people every year,” Cheron said.
Anyone can donate a basket, and to find out more information on how to go about donating, visit: https://basketeers.org/chapter/durham.
The Basket drop off is happening at the Greenbank Centenial Hall, located at 19965 Hwy. 7 & 12, in Scugog.
Anyone with questions regarding the Basketeers and the upcoming donation can email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.