by Amanda Kendrick
Star-Advocate Correspondent

 Port St. John resident Liz Casper has started a local chapter of Binky Patrol, an organization which provides homemade blankets to ill or abused children in hospitals, shelters or foster care.

“I crochet a lot and I like to visit Arnold Palmer Hospital (Orlando) to give away the blankets I make,” said Casper. “When I heard about Binky Patrol, I thought it would be a good way for myself and other local people to make a difference.”

Binky Patrol was founded in 1996 by Susan Finch in Laguna Beach, Calif.  Recipients of Binky Patrol blankets can be of any age, from newborn infants to teenagers. Any child experiencing trauma or loss, who needs the security of knowing someone cares and they are loved, may receive a blanket.

“This program is really wonderful because kids love to have something that they can call their own,” said Casper. “If our blankets can bring security and give comfort to even one child, then we are doing our job.”

The first meeting of the Space Coast Binky Patrol will be held from noon to 1 p.m. July7.  Subsequent meetings will be held on the second Saturday of each month, also from noon to 1 p.m. The meeting site is yet to be determined.

Binky Patrol meetings are open to anyone who is interested in helping children. To join the orgranization, a volunteer only needs to have a needle, some thread and desire to comfort children with special needs. Those who crochet and knit also are welcome.

“All of the blankets made by the Space Coast Binky Patrol will be given to local children in need,” said Casper. “Some of the places we plan to distribute blankets include Country Acres, the Salvation Army, Crosswinds, Parrish Medical Center, Wuesthoff Hospital and Arnold Palmer Hospital.”

The Space Coast Binky Patrol will soon begin soliciting businesses and community members for donations of supplies or money.  Monetary donations will be used to cover basic expenses, such as printing and postage, batting, thread and yarn. Supply donations can range from needles, thread and meterial to sewing machines.

“The help of the community is the key to making the Space Coast Binky Patrol a success,” said Casper.  “I really hope that people will donate talent, supplies, funding and love to benefit children in need of comfort and security.”

For more information, call Casper at 639-4840. the group also has a Web site: