Want to really impress your sweetheart? Give a gift for Valentine's Day—or any occasion—and give back to the community as well. Benevolent Baskets, a Baltimore online gift-basket enterprise, helps needy women build self-esteem and confidence. "It's very rewarding for them," says Rhonda English, a residential supervisor at My Sister's Place Lodge, a Catholic Charities facility that houses formerly homeless women. "It taps into gifts they did not know they have." Several of the Lodge's clients meet three times a week to put together the baskets (costing from $29-59) in a program operated by Karen Lerario and Lesley Geisel. The partners, who met in church, were looking to help underserved women. "We wanted something unique," Geisel says of the venture. "It's one big blessing with a capital B." The most popular basket is the Italian Gourmet Basket ($59, benevolentbaskets.com), Geisel says. It includes tomato-basil bread mix, easy-to-make pasta sauces, fettuccine, farfalle, and a hand-knit dish cloth. Other themed baskets are a Taste of Maryland, College-Bound, and, of course, one for your sweetie on February 14.
Share a gift of love—and food—this year.
Issue date: February, 2011