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.