This year, the York Region Basketeers are asking you to help them, help women in need. Each year, violence and abuse drive more than 100,000 Canadian women and children out of their homes and into shelters.

Basketeering is a simple idea. Individuals, families, service clubs, work colleagues and friends fill a laundry basket with new personal and household items. Suggestions can be found on the organization website. The baskets are dropped off, delivered to a local shelter and given to women as they leave to commence their personal new start.

More than 10,000 women have received a “new beginnings” basket since 2000, when Basketeers was founded in the Greater Toronto Area. Back then, 14 baskets were delivered to one shelter. By 2016, they supported 54 women’s shelters in Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Cobb County, Georgia with more than 1,500 baskets.

In York, the baskets are delivered to Dr. Roz’s Healing Place, Juliette’s Place, Sandgate Women’s Shelter and Yellow Brick House.

Basketeers is not a registered charity and does not issue tax receipts, but stays true to their grass-roots, community-based ideals. And that’s where you come in.

“Everyone is invited to be part of this special day,” regional assistant coordinator Donna Budz, told the Markham Review. “Bring your basket, stay for a while, enjoy some refreshments, visit with other Basketeers and meet representatives from our region’s shelters.”

“Our greatest need is for individuals, groups or businesses to give a basket,” she added. “For those who would like to donate, we ask that they register on the website, through the Give a Basket page.”

Giving a basket means buying the basket or storage container and items to fill it up. Wrap it, add a list of contents to the outside and deliver it on the annual drop-off day.

This year, in York Region, the day to do that is Nov. 25 from 9 am to 1 pm at Unionville Presbyterian Church, 600 Village Parkway.

“One hundred per cent of your gift is passed on to a woman identified by one of our shelters,” said Budz. “Fill a basket, fill your heart and send a powerful message of support to these courageous women.”

Visit www.basketeers.org for information.