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St. John's volunteers sew items to help Australian animals injured by wildfires

These St. John’s sewers spent several hours on Saturday sewing pouches for joeys, wallabies and wombats recovering from wildfires in Australia. They are pictured at the start of their sewing session, holding the materials they will use to make the pouches. From left are Karen Rose, Meghan Anningson, Arleen Carew-Marsh, Bride White, Nicole Warren, Vicki Jamieson, Tara Clark and Julie Sinnott. JUANITA MERCER/THE TELEGRAM
These St. John’s sewers spent several hours on Saturday sewing pouches for joeys, wallabies and wombats recovering from wildfires in Australia. They are pictured at the start of their sewing session, holding the materials they will use to make the pouches. From left are Karen Rose, Meghan Anningson, Arleen Carew-Marsh, Bride White, Nicole Warren, Vicki Jamieson, Tara Clark and Julie Sinnott. JUANITA MERCER/THE TELEGRAM

'I’m a huge animal lover, and it just breaks my heart': organizer

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

Australia is thousands of miles from Newfoundland, but the country ravaged by wildfires is close in heart to a group of St. John’s sewers.

On Saturday, about a dozen people met at Marjorie Mews Public Library with reams of fabric, patterns and sewing machines in tow.

They spent four hours making pouches for rescued joeys, wallabies and wombats.

At press time, the wildfires in Australia had burned an estimated 26 million acres, destroyed more than 5,900 buildings, killed 29 people and killed more than a billion animals, some of which could go extinct, according to The Washington Post.

“I’m a huge animal lover, and it just breaks my heart watching all the news stories,” said Meghan Anningson, manager at quilt shop Fiberlilly, and the organizer of Saturday’s event.

To assist those caring for injured wildlife, a group called the Canadian Animal Rescue Craft Guild put out a call for volunteers in every province to organize the making of a wide range of supplies: joey pouches, bird and rodent nests, bat wraps, blankets, animal sweaters, possum and bird boxes, koala mittens and more.

These sewers spent their Saturday crafting items for rescuers to use in caring for animals injured or displaced in the Australian wildfires. - Juanita Mercer/The Telegram
These sewers spent their Saturday crafting items for rescuers to use in caring for animals injured or displaced in the Australian wildfires. - Juanita Mercer/The Telegram

St. John’s resident Jacquie Jackson saw the call, and volunteered.

Last week, Jackson created the Facebook group From Newfoundland to Australia with Love. It has information about needed items, and patterns to make them.

The group has since grown to more than 1,000 members posting about how they will help — from high school clothing and textiles teachers getting entire classes sewing, to local businesses offering to mail shipments of the hand-made items.

Jackson said they welcome any local business that can help with shipments.

“We know it’s going to be expensive (to ship), but even if one local company stepped up and said, ‘We’ll ship one box,’ one box is more stuff going over for the cause.”

Jackson said it was a natural decision to volunteer as a Newfoundland "hub" for the effort.

“If somebody asks you if you can do something, and you have that skill to do it, then why not?” — 

The deadline to drop off items for shipment at the various dropoff locations on the Avalon peninsula is Jan. 24, and Jan. 21 on the province’s west coast.

That weekend, Jackson will organize the items to ensure everything is packaged appropriately for shipment.

Meanwhile, Anningson is organizing another sewing event at Marjorie Mews on Jan. 18. Anyone who would like to help make bags and pouches is welcome to meet there at noon. Volunteers will need to bring a sewing machine, scissors, pins, an extension cord and 100 per cent cotton fabric or flannel.


Dropoff locations

  • Honda on Kenmount Road
  • Urban Salon on Elizabeth Avenue
  • Clay Cafe on Topsail Road
  • Fiberlilly on Highland Drive
  • Marjorie Mews Public Library on Highland Drive
  • Quilter’s Quest Fabric & Quilt Shoppe in Torbay
  • Gifts of Joy in Pasadena
  • Danny’s Paw Prints in Corner Brook

Twitter: @juanitamercer_


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