By Valerie Franchi, Contributing Writer
Grafton/Shrewsbury – Thanks to a local businessman, a nonprofit organization that makes blankets for seriously ill children, teens and young adults now has a new space to store, design, sew and ship their creations.
Shrewsbury resident Carl Cervini donated office space in the commercial park he has owned for 35 years at 420 Boston Turnpike (Route 9) to give Binkeez for Comfort its new headquarters.
Grafton resident and Binkeez founder Susan Posterro said she was so grateful for Cervini’s generosity, after he found out through a mutual friend that the organization was in dire need of a new home.
“We lost our space in Northborough and I was working out of my home,” Posterro said. “He was very touched by our mission.”
Cervini has a history of helping out and has offered space to other nonprofits in the past.
“I was happy to help,” he said. “Being civic-minded is what we should be. It’s simple.”
Posterro and some of her volunteers turned the former offices into a community sewing studio, production and design room, office and “KidzKorner.”
The organization is comprised entirely of volunteers from central Massachusetts and beyond who donate their time and talent. Some are professional sewers, others are mothers of children who are sick and believe in Binkeez’ mission.
“These blankets mean the world; they are very special,” said Katie Botting, mother of Emma, 11, and Kenny, 9, who traveled from Connecticut for the headquarters’ dedication ceremony Feb. 14.
Kenny, who is battling a brain tumor, was among the residents of Christopher’s Haven in Boston who recently met “Captain America” Chris Evans and “Guardians of the Galaxy Starlord” Chris Pratt as part of the stars’ Super Bowl wager.
Once the space was obtained, Posterro said the transformation to a working headquarters “happened literally overnight.”
At the dedication, “we wanted to surprise the mothers and thank them for volunteering.” Posterro handed out gift bags and a key with “love” engraved on it “as a daily reminder that the key to Binkeez is always love,” she said.
Binkeez blankets come in different sizes and fabrics based on the age of the recipient. Each blanket is customized with a personal tag and placed inside a personalized cotton drawstring bag.
When the organization began in 2012, volunteers were sewing 30-35 blankets a month; now that number is around 150. These are donated to various facilities including Boston Children’s Hospital, UMass Medical Center, and Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, R.I.
According to Posterro, Binkeez is accredited with most of the top 10 children’s hospitals ranked by “US News.”
“They don’t allow a lot of nonprofits in,” she said. “But they allow us in.”
The organization has also partnered with many other charities including Sammy’s Superheroes, the Izzy Foundation, Peach’s Neat Feet, and the Clay Buckholz Foundation, which has donated baseball-inspired fabric for the blankets.
“I’m amazed at how it’s grown in such a short time and the peace and comfort that comes from a little blanket,” Julie Russell, a member of the board of directors, said at the dedication ceremony.
Binkeez for Comfort is always looking for more volunteers, and currently they are seeking a new administrative director.
“We have some amazing missions coming up and now have the ability to have our community be more involved, Posterro said. “We are going to need our community more than ever.”
Binkeez will hold an open house Saturday, April 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at their new headquarters, 420 Boston Turnpike (Route 9), Shrewsbury.
For more information or to donate, visit www.binkeezforcomfort.org.