November marks ‘Woman Abuse Prevention Month in Ontario.'

“We are lifting up a woman who’s had a challenging time,” says Bonnie Pacuta.

Over the past year, Pacuta along with her girlfriends have been preparing a basket full of essential items for women who are victims of abuse.

“It’s a gift from my friends to another woman we hope to make a difference,” she says.

The Windsor Basketeers campaign may look different this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, but organizers have the same goal to help women transition from the Hiatus House, an emergency women’s shelter to their new beginnings.

“This donation is going to be so helpful because one restarting is not easy, leaving an abusive relationship is not easy, but restarting with nothing is even harder,” says Erika Dorian, a residential therapist at Hiatus House.

Hiatus House provides crisis support and shelter for women and children in Windsor who are fleeing violence and abuse.

“Getting access to things like refurnishing your bathroom and things for the kitchen, basic cooking utensils, those are things that we don’t always have to offer when people do leave,” says Dorion.

For the second year, Windsor Basketeers collected more than a dozen baskets, plus $4,200 worth of gifts cards to help the women restart their lives after leaving Hiatus House.

“When they leave the shelter to start their new life it gives them something to start with, a little boost. It gives some hope, some encouragement and it makes them feel valued,” says Mary-Ann Stark, coordinator of Windsor Basketeers group.

Many who dropped off baskets Saturday say helping out women in need is a cause close to their heart.

“Just knowing we can help someone else start over just touches us, just to be able to give some of what we have to someone else,” says Irma Odecki.

“They’ve got a road ahead of them and it’s a tough one. But they have to be strong and I’m sure they would be,” says Carolyn Venus.

Windsor Basketeers is still accepting monetary donations. Visit either their webpage or contact Windsor Basketeers directly at windsor@basketeers.org.