By noon Saturday, more than 500 blankets are collected for ailing Orange County kids.

Reporter and Binky Angel, Lori Basheda visited all Girl Scout drop off locations Saturday, April 13 to get the story behind this special day.

Photographer, Mindy Schauer captured many special moments of the morning as well.

We appreciate the support the Orange County Register has continued to show Binky Patrol since the first binky was made in 1996. Read more about the scouts and BP by clicking on the headline.

Girl Scouts blanketed Orange County on Saturday. And there wasn’t a cookie in sight.

The Girl Scout Council of Orange County — 54,000 kids strong — has adopted the Binky Patrol as this year’s service project.

More than 500 blankets were collected by noon. Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber and Piglet peered out from the piles of felt, flannel and yarn.

Binky Patrol women will track down people who need those blankets — mostly abused, neglected and sick kids in hospitals and shelters.

“It’s important for our young people to get involved,” said Binky maven Dottie Blan, manning a post in Seal Beach. “Not with the Binky Patrol. But person to person. To learn to take care of their community. We’re one big family.”

On Saturday, Brownies and Daisys paraded into Girl Scout posts in Seal Beach, Laguna Beach, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Anaheim, Fullerton and Yorba Linda with armloads of blankets they have been sewing.

For the past five years, the Girl Scouts have made their service project the Salvation Army.

Mimi Askew, project coordinator for the Girl Scouts, said they switched to the Binky Patrol this year because it is closer to the kids’ hearts. “This is something they can relate to,” she said.

Most of the blankets go to other kids. Kids in accidents. Kids with cancer. Kids with no homes — no beds of their own.

Binky Patrol founder Susan Finch is working with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to get a binky in every police car for accident victims and kids cowering in their homes during domestic disputes.

Some of the blankets collected Saturday will be sent to Oahu to help start Hawaii’s first Binky Patrol chapter. A woman who was sexually abused as a child and is now at a military base there is starting it. It will be the 161st chapter. Roush started the patrol in 1996 in her Laguna Beach home with five volunteers, and now there are 5,000 blanket makers in 43 states. They have sewn more than 150,000 blankets.

Most of the fabric is donated. Blan recalls the time her chapter made blankets with materials from upscale Irvine clothing maker St. John Knits to give to men living on the street.

Patrollers never meet the people they help but have books full of letters to let them know what they are doing is important.

Pat Nordstrom recounted one letter about a boy with a brain tumor who was curled up in a hospital bed when they handed him a fuzzy blanket covered in cows.

“He started to laugh so hard,” she said. “He couldn’t believe there was a blanket with cows on it. And when they told him it was his, his whole family started to cry.”

The Seal Beach woman believes in the Binky Patrol mission so much that she sews despite being legally blind. She uses magnifying glasses and bright halogen lights to help see. And she cracks up telling the story of how she couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her machine one time — only to be told that she actually melted part of it from the hot lights.

Blan takes her sewing machine on summer vacations. “I whip that sucker out at state parks and I get a crowd,” she said. The Los Alamitos woman started chapters clear to Tennessee during last summer’s road trip with her husband.

On Saturday, an extension cord ran out of the Costa Mesa Girl Scout Council building so women could sew on the sidewalk while waiting for the girls.

Courtney Fedorcheck, a Tustin fourth-grader from Troop 1380, said she is happy thinking about the child her blanket will go to, whomever he or she may be. “Then they’ll know that somebody’s caring for them — or at least caring about them,” she said.

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NOTE:  Not only did the scouts learn to sew, but many troops took to the crochet hooks as well creating beautifully crocheted binkies including this stars and stripes one.

Kids like learning new skills and seeing the success of what they have learned.  Give them a chance and spend the time teaching them a new skill.  You’ll be amazed at the rewards for  all!