Welcome Basket Project

Working together with the North Toronto Church Cluster’s Upper Room ( a group of United Churches who collaborate on Social Justice initiatives), we are creating Welcome Baskets for people across the city. 

What is the Lenten Welcome Basket Project? This is an effort to help people currently living in our homeless shelters transition to their own independent housing. Remember when you moved into your first apartment on your own and you needed a pot to boil water, a plate to put your dinner on, a wooden spoon, some cutlery, a glass for water, sheets and a towel? That’s what’s in a starter kit.  Click on this link to see the list of items in a Welcome Basket.   

Who will be receiving the Welcome Baskets?
People transferring from shelters all across the city will be receiving our Welcome Baskets. We will be working with the community engagement coordinators at the Roehampton Shelter to deliver our completed kits. They will arrange distribution of them to the various locations across the city.

Here’s a quote from Edward, a Roehampton shelter resident who moved into permanent housing on Dec 3, 2020, supported by one of our first welcome baskets.

          “Ending up at the Roehampton was eye opener for me as I’ve never been homeless. Slowly talking with Leroy other staff members including some security staff that I hold very close to my heart,  I realized my life was not over just yet. This homeless shelter actually saved my life as crazy as that sounds!”

Read Edward’s complete story here.

How can I participate?

You have four ways to be a part of this project:

  • Create a basket with your friends or family using the suggested contents list
  • Donate items (new or gently used) from the contents list to include in a basket
  • Make a financial donation
  • Write a brief note of encouragement to the eventual recipient of the basket.

Deadline : March 28

Next Steps – Assembling a Welcome Basket:

Sign up by February 28 – send an email to Connie Roden to let her know you will be preparing one of our welcome baskets. And if you would like to tell us about your motivation to participate, we’d like to know a little about who you are working with and why you are doing this. Every story is a treasure and we hope you will share yours with us.

Pick up your laundry basket kit – arrange this with Maggie Wilkinson .  We have purchased these in bulk and one will be waiting for you in a large clear heavy-duty plastic bag with your name on it.

Assemble all the items for your Welcome Basket and pack them into the laundry basket. A checklist will be included in your laundry basket so you can tick items off as you collect them.

Return your completed Welcome Basket to ESG United Church (tentatively, COVID restrictions dependent) – Monday March 29 between 2 and 6 pm.  If you aren’t able to drop off on Monday afternoon, please let Connie know and we will make other arrangements.

Next Steps – Donating Items:

If you have items (new or gently used) from the basket contents list, contact Maggie / 416 574 4599 to arrange a drop off time.  We will be collecting items in the Wilkinson garage and assembling kits there for delivery before Easter. 

Next Steps – Making a Financial Donation:
If you have already culled your cupboards of extra items and don’t want to go out to shop, perhaps you would prefer to make a financial contribution. ESG Outreach is purchasing new sheets and towels, any items that are not donated, as well as a $50 grocery gift card to include in the basket.  Your financial contribution will assist in providing these items. 

Next Steps – Writing a Note:

We would like to include a brief note of encouragement to the recipient of each basket. Moving from the shelter into permanent housing can be an exciting as well as challenging time.  Words of kindness and care will help to support these folks in successfully establishing their new life in their new home. 

Thanks for making this Lenten project a success, and for supporting someone who has little but greatly appreciates our support.