MLK: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” There’s no better way to celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. than serving others. On Monday, January 18, 2016, thousands will gather around the United States to serve with their families, friends and neighbors.
Hands on Greater Portland
Serving others provides great joy! Something about getting outside myself, if even for a short period of time, changes my perspective and reminds me of all the people I am grateful to know and share life with.
In an attempt to find a fun service opportunity, I stumbled across Hands on Greater Portland, a non-profit based in Portland, OR with the purpose of connecting volunteers with non-profit-organizations. My first project was transplanting native shrubs to larger containers. Being a gardener, I enjoyed the project, but it wasn’t my favorite. My next project was a Bink-A-Thon.
A “binky” is a small blanket. A Bink-A-Thon is a one day blanket-making fest for the Binky Patrol, a nonprofit organization focused on making blankets for kids. In 2012, I attended my first Bink-A-Thon. Imagine this… A large church gym with row after row of eight foot table and folding chairs. The tables are filled with women sitting behind their sewing machines, including some teen girls and boys. Several ironing boards are setup to flatten the truly wrinkled fabric. There’s a large open space with Men laying fabric on the floor to cut into strips and blank tops being sandwiched with batting and blanket backs. Jr. High and High School students are matching fabric. Round tables are surrounded by families hand sewing labels. Okay, you’re there now.
The day started with bags and boxes of donated fabric and huge rolls of fluffy white batting. The day ended with tired backs and a big pile of finished binkies. The blankets were delivered the same day to homeless kids and kids in foster care.
Fast forward to 2014… Little did I know that my soon-to-be-adopted nephew Andy would receive his own binky from a similar organization in San Diego. Andy really adores his social worker Sarah. “Sarah brought me my blanket AND my baby brother!” At some point, I think Andy thought Sarah was more like Santa Claus. What a delight to learn that the binkies I helped make were also being made in San Diego to bless this boy who is now adopted (aka stuck with us).
For the Introverts
Okay, I know I know. You introverts are OUT! The idea of being stuffed in a crowded room with strangers for hours sounds like torture. But not to worry. There’s plenty you can do. The fabric for blanket tops is available at any time. You can make blankets at your home alone or with a friend or two. You can donate money for batting. You can tie-dye the donated white hotel sheets used for the backs into fun colors and patterns. If you’re interested in helping out, connect with the Binky Patrol in your area. There are even videos on the Binky Patrol website with instructions on how to make a blanket, iron fabric easily, etc. You can crochet or knit blankets as well if that’s your preference. Also, check out the ideas below for other ways to get involved.
For the Procrastinators and non-Portlanders
For all of you who didn’t know, forgot, just haven’t signed up. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time left. There are volunteer opportunities available year-round for individuals, families and kids.
- Binky Patrol (chapters all over the United States)
- Hands on Greater Portland (matches volunteers with non-profits in Portland, OR)
- Volunteer Match (matches volunteers with non-profits all over the US)
Aunt Becky’s is proud to help sponsor the January 2016 Bink-A-Thon!