A West Chester Twp. woman has started the southwest Ohio chapter of a national nonprofit organization that makes and gives handmade blankets to babies born HIV positive or drug-addicted children who are abused, in shelters or in foster care.
Kimberly Renner said to join Binky Patrol, a volunteer only needs “an open heart, a needle, some thread and a desire to help kids who have some very special needs.” No sewing experience is necessary, and recipients are a day old to 18 years old.
“Any child experiencing trauma or loss who needs the security of knowing someone cares and that they are loved receives the blankets,” Renner said.
Crocheters and knitters are welcome. No-sew blankets are also welcome. The youngest volunteer to date is 4 years old.
Founded by Susan Finch in 1996, the patrol has delivered more than 575,000 blankets. Binky sizes range from 24-inches-by-30-inches to twin size for teens.
“Anything goes, simple or complex, as long as they are soft and washable,” Finch said. “They all express love.”
Renner, who has lived in West Chester for 21 years, said she discovered Binky Patrol through Pinterest.
“I was looking for ways to help out kids who sometimes fall through the cracks, kids with mental challenges, kids who have been abused or neglected, kids in foster care, homeless, kids suffering any sort of trauma through no fault of their own,” she said. “I had just started sewing so it seemed like it was meant to be.”
Visiting the group’s website to contact the area coordinator, Renner discovered there was none, then launched the local effort with a handful of volunteers in late August. As of October, the new group had 78 volunteers hailing from all of southwest Ohio, south Dayton, northern Kentucky and eastern Indiana, she said.
“Some of them are groups and we don’t know how many there are that contribute to the group,” Renner said.
The southwest Ohio chapter plans on delivering to Hope House in Middletown, Bethany House in Hamilton County, Children’s Hospital Residential Program, Sleep in Heavenly Peace charity, Dohn’s new Keep Teen Moms in School program, Lakota schools and Beech Acres Parenting Centers.
“The more blankets they receive, the more kids we can help,” Renner said.
Binky Patrol is looking for more volunteer “hands,” local sources of funding to cover basic expenses like printing, postage and materials.
Participants are discovering they can make a difference with a small amount of effort, Finch said.
“It’s a great way to meet new friends and neighbors, give something of themselves and express their own creativity,” she said.
For more information, call 513-226-2914 or visit www.binkypatrol.org.
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