Why is it called Binky Patrol?

Most people think of pacifiers when they think of Binky. When founder Susan Finch had her retail business in Laguna Beach, she met a sweet man whose name some unkind people said was “Binky” because he walked around with a blanket on his head. She got to know this sweet soul, and they became friends. His name was Shandor.

When Susan wanted to find a way to help women in battered women’s shelters, her mother came to her gallery and asked for help making blankets for pregnancy clinics. DING DING DING! That was it! She knew she wanted to name it after Shandor. He loved the name!  Susan and her mom both had terrible, almost non-existent sewing skills, but a desire to help. Susan’s time was limited due to her long hours. She put a sign-up sheet outside during a street fair, and five women signed up. That was the first group of Binky Patrol, and three of those volunteers are still involved. This was followed up with a mention on Oprah’s show for National AIDS Awareness Day. We went national that day! You have to say  “Yes” to Oprah, don’t you?

During Binky Patrol’s first month in 1996, Shandor stopped Susan on the street one night and asked, “How are the babies?” She told him she was trying to give them all blankets and love. He opened his Velcro wallet containing one dollar. He handed it to her and said, “Use this for the babies, it’s extra.” That’s the true Binky Patrol spirit. Shandor died in 2021, but he and Susan remained friends all those years. She’d visit him each time she went to see family.

What’s a binky?

A binky is a homemade blanket that is soft, washable, and from the heart. Binkies can be sewn/quilted, fleece tied, crocheted, or knitted. Binkies need to be at least 3 feet by 3 feet, and up to twin bed size for our taller teens who needs a soft, loveable blanket just as much as a baby. Sometimes, we think these teens need them more than anyone!

Here is our signature pattern – easy strip-pieced binkies!

Who receives binkies?

Binkies are given to children who are 0-18 years old. We give them through agencies, shelters, clinics, and other channels. The children who receive binkies are those who are marginalized, who need a reminder that they matter, are not invisible, and deserving of love. We give to children who are ill, abused, homeless, or experiencing trauma.

Who makes binkies?

Volunteers come in all ages from 4 – 94! All skill levels. We’ve taught children as young as four how to make blankets and sew on labels.  Schools join us to make blankets. They’ll invite parents to help. Scout troops making binkies – and can earn a Binky Patrol patch! Church groups, clubs, company philanthropy groups. We had one software company that would keep a stack of squares and fabric markers in the lobby for visitors to decorate while they waited. Then, they sewed them into blankets at a company picnic. We’ve taught others how to cut fabric, make the fleece blankets, sew, knit. If you want to learn and help, we’ll help you!

How can I get Binky Patrol labels for my blankets?

Our director, Donna Serra, is the keeper of the labels. She mails them all over the country. She requests a self-addressed stamped envelope mailed to her. One stamp will get you about 50 labels. Send your SASE and request to Donna Serra, Director, Binky Patrol, 17029 Hunter Green, Upperco, MD 21155.

Our Area Coordinators only have to request labels. They are part of the chapter kit along with brochures.

How can I help?

We have a great list of ways to help. Here’s a quick rundown:

  1. make a donation, including matching funds
  2. host an event
  3. start a chapter
  4. get the word out at your company
  5. sponsor a local chapter
  6. be a resource provider