Monument City Brewing Company To Host Benevolent Baskets Fundraiser


Everyone is invited to the so-called “Dog Days of Summer” event at Monument City Brewing Company to help an important nonprofit whose work over the past decade has helped women throughout the Baltimore area get back on their feet.

Organizers say everyone— meaning both humans and “furry creatures” are welcome to the event on Thursday, August 2, 2018 at the Monument City Brewing Company located at 1 N. Haven Street in Baltimore City at 5 p.m. Admission is free.

Cassandra Vincent will serve as the emcee for an evening featuring musical guests, Edjacated Phools; plenty of food; Monument City beers; entertainment; and a silent auction that will help support Benevolent Baskets, a Baltimore-based nonprofit, which helps women transition from homelessness to independent living.

“This is our first Baltimore-based fundraiser, and while the program has always operated from Baltimore,” said Karen Goodrich Lerario, the executive director of Benevolent Baskets.

“The founders are from Anne Arundel County, and therefore much of our support base is from there,” Lerario said. “This year, as planned, our program is growing and will require a larger cadre of volunteers and we’re super-excited to increase awareness of our mission to Baltimore millennials, as well as raise necessary funds to continue to serve.”

Located at 22 Light Street, Benevolent Baskets was launched in 2008. Its mission is to provide life skills and job training to formerly homeless women through a growing gift basket business.

The organization seeks to strengthen women with the support, tools and confidence to regain their independence and to make meaningful contributions to the community, officials said.

Lerario says she and co-founder Lesley Geisel met through Woods Presbyterian Church in Severna Park where they shared a strong desire to make a difference in the lives of women battling addiction and those seeking wholeness.

With Geisel’s experience as a special education teacher and Lerario having a background in hotel management, the pair said they had the confidence to believe in their vision.

“Soon a business plan was proposed, and the rest is history,” Lerario said.

Until March, the nonprofit operated from the dining room of My Sister’s Place Women’s Center on West Franklin Street. However, after a growth spurt, the nonprofit was finally able to move into a space of its own at 22 Light Street.

“Our programs have directly impacted over 100 women, most of whom are in sustained, independent housing,” Lerario said. “The impact on families of some our ladies … there are sweet stories there, too,” she said.

At Benevolent Baskets, women participate in different parts of running a gift basket business to develop marketable skills and regain their confidence and sense of worth. Depending on their interests, women participate in a range of activities and receive training in many facets of the business from designing the baskets to marketing, sales, customer service, procurement and logistics.

Primary objectives include helping the women regain a sense of stability, support and a sense of belonging, which are critical to their healing process, according to Lerario.

The organization works with other organizations like Second Chance, United Way and other Catholic Charities programs to help the women with job and housing placement and to assist them in building a sustainable future.

“Our neighbors at 22 Light Street are other nonprofits— we’ve already had multiple opportunities to collaborate, share clients and have a greater impact on those deserving a second chance,” Lerario said.

For more information about the Dog Days of Summer charity event of for additional information about Benevolent Baskets or to make a donation, visit: