Learn more about why Binky Patrol is ideal for community service

Lately, we’ve been hit hard. We’ve been beautiful hit with cuddly hugs of blankets arriving from teens fulfilling community service hours. We are so grateful to the school districts who have this requirement. Learn more about why Binky Patrol is ideal for community service.

When teens are assigned the task to volunteer, it takes some of the spirit of volunteerism away. BUT it also gives them an opportunity to do something they may have never done before – give their time to make a difference in the lives of others who are less fortunate. You would think it would be easy and that volunteer opportunities would be available to wiling teens. This is not the case, at least that’s what we’ve found in the Portland metro area. 

Typical of teens, they wait until the final week to get on the ball to find an organization to volunteer for. Keep in mind, these kids usually don’t drive so a parent must take them to the opportunity. I’m sure you are thinking, “How wonderful! Their whole family can get involved.” Stop thinking that. Now are you are not only forcing a teen to do something outside their comfort zone, but requiring a parent to cut into their schedule to get them there. Many times, this is perfectly fine. But think of the students who go straight home after school to care for their sibling while their parents are working their second shift. They may not really have any time with their parents until the weekend. The weekend may be packed with sibling intense sports schedules, family events and more – including homework, errands. Evenings may be packed with homework, grocery shopping to catch up, laundry, practice for sports. To require a parent to cart a child/teen to a place to volunteer a few times and then pick them up may not work into an already stretched and delicate schedule.

That’s why Binky Patrol is IDEAL – almost 100% ideal. If teens make blankets, they are able to do them in a variety of ways. They can sew them from scraps if they have access at home to fabric, old sheets, a neighbor’s stash, church stash of fabric and a sewing machine if they know how to use one or if they want to learn. We have a few chapters that actually offer lessons on machines to teens once or twice a month on a Saturday. GREAT life skill.

If they go the “no-sew” fleece route – it is the most popular – it is almost a slam dunk. BUT 90% of the time, our chapters cannot supply the fabric. The students CAN order it online from discount fleece resources through Amazon Prime or direct so they don’t have to go shopping. Usually shipping is covered.

Sometimes posting to neighborhood boards, like NextDoor or a neighborhood Facebook group can garner fabric donations from people willing to support the student or school. Binky Patrol offers a tax donation receipt for original fabric purchase and materials receipts. We can email them if you mail in the original to us.

Other resources at a discount include: EBay – local only, Craig’s List (parents must supervise these, though – creepy people out there!), JoAnn Fabric with their weekly coupons in their app and online coupons. BUT this takes a bit more planning. Students, you have to start early so you have enough time to order, take delivery and then make the blankets and then you have to turn them in.

With Binky Patrol, we help students by allowing them to deliver to a local area shelter or clinic. We’d prefer they get to know the needs in their local area to build an ongoing volunteer relationship. This saves shipping money. We ask for a business card of the person receiving them at the facility, a photo with staff, and signature on our delivery receipt that we will email to you. Once we have that, we can issue you a letter or sign your community service forms and email them back! SAVES TIME!

If you want the tax deduction, you can MAIL IN the ORIGINAL receipts for the materials you purchased and we’ll give you a receipt via email for tax purposes.

When you make blankets, hats, booties or stuffed toys, you can do it with friends when it fits your schedule. It can be fun! You can pool together coupons, see if grandma or someone who supports the school might help you with fabric expenses if you tell them what you are doing. I bet they’d help. People love to help kids and their neighborhood school. So much better than selling cookies.

If you have any questions about these ideas, let me know via email: sfinch@binkypatrol.org