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Help women to start over: Become a ‘basketeer’

FERGUS - It may seem a bit early, but Laura Blinkhorn is hoping to get Centre Wellington residents more involved in making Christmas a bit brighter for local women.

Blinkhorn is inviting community members to adopt a new holiday tradition of putting together thoughtful and useful gift baskets for women transitioning from shelter to new home.

She said the Basketeers organization, made up of more than a dozen cities across Ontario, delivers wrapped gift baskets to women in need on Christmas morning. They are filled with basic necessities to assist them in their new beginnings.

She noted the program started up in the Guelph area several years ago with baskets going to the crisis centre, which also serves Centre Wellington.

Blinkhorn noted that because she is on maternity leave right now she has the  time to help out.

She said the crisis centre has had between 30 and 40 baskets donated this year ... but the need is closer to 200.

“This is an awesome community so I am hoping by putting the message out there early enough we can get a few more baskets dropped off,” Blinkhorn said.

She is asking people to imagine how hard it would be to leave most of their belongings behind.

She noted many women “have left their homes with nothing but the keys in their purse.”

She asked people to think about what it would take to start over in an apartment or home. Items could include kitchen and bathroom items.

“This is a kind gesture to make this transition just a little bit easier,” she said.

Often the baskets are wrapped or decorated.

“It is like having a present which can be opened on Christmas morning,” Blinkhorn said.

A few tips for putting together a basket(s):

- items should be new;

- no sized clothing; and

- no food/beverages.

For suggested items and basket themes, visit:

Blinkhorn stressed “there is really no right or no wrong ... it could include a book, a journal, calculator ... anything to help a woman start over in a new home.”

The drop off date for baskets is Nov. 19 from 9am to noon at the Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis Centre, 38 Elizabeth Street, Guelph.

For more information or to register email Blinkhorn at


October 14, 2016


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