Canadians are making handmade items for animals affected by the Australian fires
TORONTO -- Knitters, sewers, and crocheters across Canada are working together to send handmade wraps and pouches to the animals affected by the Australian bushfires.
The ongoing fires have destroyed thousands of homes, taken the lives of 25 people and an estimated 480 million wildlife mammals. Animals that have been rescued require sweaters, blankets, and mittens to be nursed back to health.
The Canadian Animal Rescue Craft Facebook group was created for knitters across the country to work together to create these much-needed items.
Debbie Parry from Toronto is one of many Canadians dedicating her time to collecting donations for the burned animals. She says the response from other Canadians working for this cause has been positive.
“I just connected with this last week so I’m still working out a lot of the logistics, but the website that has been setup is absolutely phenomenal,” Parry said Tuesday in a phone interview with CTVNews.ca.
Aside from knitting bat wraps, koala mittens, and blankets, volunteers on the Facebook page have offered to collect donations in their communities. Parry has been working as a hub for those in Toronto. Once donations are collected, she meets with travellers who will be flying to Australia to ensure the donations arrive directly to animal organizations. Parry says they have been using this method because of high shipping costs.
“The cost to mail things is absolutely astronomical. Just to mail a small box of items is $100. We’re all volunteers, we don’t have the money to do this and to be honest, money donations are better suited in Australia to help with the relief efforts,” said Parry.
Winnipeg resident Samantha Carroll has encountered the same issue and says volunteers are constantly looking for cheaper and more efficient options.
“It’s really hard to find a cheap company, I know some have tried to contact postal services to see if they can help out. There’s actually a lot of people that have said no to using postal services, so everyone’s trying to find a cheaper alternative,” Carroll told CTVNews.ca via telephone Tuesday.
Carroll and her mother created a fundraiser selling handmade stuffed koalas. So far they have raised over $300 for WIRES, an Australian wildlife rescue charity.
Small business owner Melissa Dusterhoft from Edmonton has put her job on hold to focus on making crocheted pouches for the animals.
Dusterhoft says she was driven to do this because of the many baby animals that are left without their mothers.
“Right now what’s in need is the joey pouches, which are the smaller, knitted pouches and they replicate a kangaroo pouch for all the orphan babies. It’s important that way they can feel like they’re still with their mom,” said Dusterhoft in a phone interview with CTVNews.ca on Tuesday.
Volunteers urge those that want to help donate any extra fabrics they may have or to make donations to the multiple charities listed on the Facebook page.