Crafters Join Hearts To Help Animals Injured In Australia Fires

CUTCHOGUE, NY — A big-hearted group of crafters came together Saturday to help create soft pouches and mittens for kangaroos and koala bears injured in the horrific fires in Australia.

According to CNN, 28 people have died and nearly 18 million acres have burned across Australia. And a report by ecologist Christopher Dickman of the University of Sydney indicated that the total number of animals affected could be as high as 1 billion.

And while monetary donations are pouring in to Australia from celebrities and regular folks across the world, crafters also are coming together to help.

On Saturday, 35 crafters turned out at JABS in Cutchogue to contribute their time and talents. “I’ve had people as far as Illinois message me to help,” said organizer Stephanie Oliver of Southold.

Eager to help, residents on the North Fork are joining a nationwide army — not of soldiers but of knitters who are gathering to create supplies that will help animals injured in the fires recover. Volunteers are donating materials and joining forces to sew soft pouches for kangaroos, or joeys, and knit tiny mittens for burned koalas.

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Courtesy of Stephanie Oliver

“We are animal lovers and can’t stand to see the hundreds of thousands of innocent animals suffering,” Oliver said. “They are scared and confused, and can use all the comfort and support they can get.”

To that end, Oliver and Stephanie Berberich of Laurel organized Saturday’s “Craft-a-thon” for people to come together “to make as many comforting items as we can to send to Australia,” Oliver said.

“We were blown away by how our small community comes together in a time of need. We were able to accomplish so much,” Oliver said.

The group focused on knitting, crocheting and sewing, she said. People who would like to make items at home can add them to the group’s, so that they can be shipped together, Oliver said.

“We do plan to continue making items,” she said. “We do not need donations of material at this time. But if anyone would like to craft and donate the items they have made, they are more than welcome to.”

According to Animal Rescue Collective Craft Guild, items that are needed the most are koala mittens, joey pouches and hanging pouches.