When you knit for Binky Patrol, you can make a difference for a child or teenager in need
One of the most common reasons for knitters to pursue charity knitting is a lack of time to commit to other charitable pursuits, like volunteering.
Many of us have a longing to help make the world a better place, but we have busy lives. We have jobs and families; we may already have volunteer and/or civic duties. We want to do more, but we simply have no remaining bandwidth.
So, one thing that many knitters do is create for folks in need in their spare time. It may often be snatches of time — waiting in line or commuting or traveling — but those small bits of time can add up to create beautiful things for others.
As it turns out, the founder of Binky Patrol began her mission of comfort and love for children for a very similar reason!
Susan Finch discovered that when she tried to volunteer for a battered women’s shelter that she needed training. Of course, that training was time-consuming, and Susan found she simply didn’t have the time.
It was her mother who suggested that Susan, instead, sew blankets for unwed mothers. Susan liked the idea and gathered piles of scrap fabric from local picture framers. While sorting through the fabric, “a bell went off,” and she suddenly realized that she could combine 3 of her passions into one: quilting, children, and helping others.
In 1996, “Binky Patrol” was officially born. She started with 5 volunteers; today, Binky Patrol has thousands of volunteers in many chapters all over the United States.
Stitching Love and Compassion for Children
Following its inception, Binky Patrol received boosts in recognition thanks to a mention on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Family Circle magazine. But ultimately Binky Patrol is notable for its mission, to care for any struggling child or teenager through a special blanket of their very own.
Binky Patrol accepts nearly any blanket of nearly any size. These include knitted and crocheted blankets, as well as sewn and quilted ones.
Once they receive a donated Binky, they sew a Binky Patrol tag into a corner. Then they send that blanket to a child who needs it. Some of the locations that receive Binkies include homeless shelters, hospitals, children’s services departments, health departments, parenting resources, church children’s ministries, crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, NICUs, and many more.
One special quality of the Binky Patrol is this bit, from their mission statement:
We encourage our chapters to build local community by seeking the ‘invisible kids’ near them.Those who have been forgotten, not been seen, not heard are the ones we seek to comfort. Children and teens may experience trauma when a parent or sibling is ill or has passed away. These children need binkies too – not just the ones in the hospital. They need a gift – a reminder – that they, too are loved and thought of by someone who cares.
For more ways to knit for children, check out the Knitting Charities for Children category of this website!
How You Can Help
On the Binky Patrol website, you’ll find a list of local chapters all over the country. Click the “Find Local Chapters” drop-down menu, and you’ll be able to scroll through chapters.
(No chapter near you? Maybe you’d like to start your own chapter!)
Make note of the guidelines. Binky Patrol blankets should be no smaller than 36 inches square. You can use any pattern you like, as long as it meets their other requirements.
First, you should use a yarn that’s machine washable: cottons, washable wools, acrylics, and blends are preferable.
Second, your Binkies should be soft but sturdy, able to handle the “high” cycle on most dryers.
Binky Patrol does have a few more guidelines you’ll need to follow. Check this page and read them carefully before you begin to knit or crochet.
Binky Patrol is a powerhouse of a knitting charity that can always use more knitters! So if this is an organization you would like to support, I encourage you to find a local chapter (or consider starting your own) and enjoy making a difference for children.