Benevolent Baskets is an organization that has been helping homeless women in Baltimore get back on their feet for nearly 10 years through a unique gift program, and now the initiative is gaining widespread attention.
At the heart of the initiative is the desire to equip women living on the streets with essential skills, support and tools to regain their independence and contribute to their community, according to the organization's website.
Benevolent Baskets creates and sells custom and themed gift baskets and then pumps those profits back into its program to provide homeless women with life skills and job training.
The organization was founded nine years ago by Karen Larario and Leslie Geisel, who had worked together at an addiction center in Annapolis, WBAL-TV reported.
Since then, Benevolent Baskets has assisted countless homeless women referred to the company.
They gather twice a week and, after holding an activity or class, they get to work making the baskets which they then sell.
Lerario noted that Benevolent Baskets has impacted hundreds of women, "most of whom are in sustained, independent housing," according to The Baltimore Times.
"The impact on families of some our ladies … there are sweet stories there, too," she said.
Lerario explained that their main focus is to help women regain their sense of belonging, support and stability.
To achieve this, the organization assists the women with job and housing placement with the aim of building a sustainable future for them.
Elizabeth Nicholson is one such woman who is receiving assistance through the program, which she said creates a sense of hope.
"If you're on the streets, you can make it. No matter what you've been through, you can make it," she said, according to WBAL-TV.
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