Angeline Ranieri, 17, said the hour a day she spends sewing could give an HIV-positive, abused or AIDS-infected child his or her only physical possession.

“We make handmade blankets for needy children, children experiencing any trauma,” said Angeline, the Palm Beach and Broward county coordinator for Binky Patrol, a nationwide non-profit organization which collects and sews blankets to give to children in shelters and hospitals. “A lot of these kids get shuffled from place to place and they don’t really have anything, but this blanket is theirs to keep.”

Although Ranieri is the organization’s area coordinator, she shares leadership with her mother Patricia Ranieri. The two Loxahatchee residents visit shelters about once a month if they have 25 or more blankets. If they don’t have enough blankets for a shelter, they give the blankets to church youth groups who visit the homeless. They regularly receive blankets from about 20 people, but also receive blankets from people they’ve never met.

The blankets don’t have to be a certain fabric — they only have to be new and handmade. Angeline said there are some blankets that don’t even have to be sewn. No-sew blankets are fleece and only need to be cut, labeled and given fringes. They cost about $7 — about the same amount as knitted blankets.

Though the effort takes time, the two said the most gratifying part of the project is seeing the looks on the kids’ faces when they get the blanket.

“Some people are in shock and surprised that someone would do something like that, and other people are overwhelmed and start hugging and crying,” Patricia said.

Ranieri and her mother happened upon the Binky Patrol web site when they were searching for sewing classes online three years ago. “I thought it was a great program,” Patricia said. “We wanted to help out wherever we could, but when we saw there was no one in the area doing it, I said, ‘well, I think it’s time for us to jump in.’”

Two years ago, they visited Palms West Hospital on Christmas Eve to give out blankets. They’ve donated blankets to Kid’s Sanctuary in Royal Palm Beach, Children’s Hope Foster Care and even to the Plantation Police Department so deputies can give them out to needy children they meet on the street.

Binky Patrol founder Susan Finch said she is thankful to have Angeline Ranieri leading the Binky Patrol in Palm Beach County. “We had nobody down there,” said Finch, who is based in California. “A lot of people think in West Palm Beach there’s money, money, money, and they don’t need anything. But a lot of times they do. She filled a big void in that area.”

Patricia said she, Angeline and her other two daughters took blankets to a children’s diagnostic center last month. The center relies completely on grants to treat children who have no insurance and parents who can’t afford healthcare. “It was a very eye-opening experience,” Patricia said. “There’s another part of the world that we don’t even know about.”

Besides being a charity, Patricia said Binky Patrol has brought her family together. Her husband helps deliver the blankets and all her daughters make them. “It’s something we can work on together,” she said. “Many teenagers don’t want anything to do with their parents, but I’ve been blessed with this project.”

But it’s not a project the family can do alone. When they first started the program, Angeline and her mother made all the blankets themselves, but it got too expensive, so they sought support through word of mouth and flyers. Angeline, who will be a senior at Wellington High School next year, was able to get involvement from the Key Club and Florida Future Educators at WHS. She has also spoken to Girl Scout troops. Friends sometimes spend Saturday mornings with her making blankets and chatting. Those Saturday morning sessions can produce as many as 30 blankets.

Angeline said she’s frustrated because so many people want blankets, but there are not enough for everyone. “We’re always looking for more volunteers and more blankets,” she said. “There’s so many more organizations, we want to get more involved so they can get blankets too, but it’s hard because there are so many kids.”

“Unfortunately, it’s a never-ending need,” Finch said. “I wish we would run out of places to deliver them, but we don’t.”

To get involved with the Binky Patrol, call Angeline Ranieri at (561) 793-4760 or e-mail her at The organization’s web site is at