A family-run quilt and sewing shop in Langford is calling on crafty community members to help send dozens of pouches to help Australian wildlife impacted by bushfires.
Fires blazing across the country since September have killed 25 people, destroyed at least 2,000 homes and killed an estimated half-billion animals – reportedly wiping out 30 per cent of the koala population and leaving millions of animals injured or orphaned.
“This is one that was near and dear to my heart,” said Rebecca Sky, social media manager and grandaughter of Cloth Castle owner Sylvia Ratcliffe. “When you hear about half a billion animals dying, it’s not something you can really ignore.”
Cloth Castle decided to host a pouch-making party after learning about an initiative by the Australian chapter of the Animal Rescue Collective Craft Guild, which put out a call for pet beds, bird nests, koala mittens, bat pillows and wraps. The organization says hanging and joey pouches are needed most.
Millions of animals and species have been impacted including kangaroos, koalas, sugar gliders, possums, ring-tailed bats and bush possums.
“They’re all animals that are pouch animals [and] need that secure place,” Sky said. “It helps them recover and cope and feel safe.”
The true extent of the damage to Australia’s unique biodiversity is not yet known.
Some estimates are that 500 million+ native animals may have perished. We're working to support various organisations to help save endangered wildlife affected by these fires.
📸 D Nelson / AWC pic.twitter.com/20mAo1VANN
— Australian Wildlife Conservancy (@awconservancy) January 6, 2020
The pouch-making party will provide patterns and sewing machines. Cloth Castle will donate some fabric but attendees are encouraged to bring recycled fabric from home. Seamstresses will be on hand to help out.
Sky says the event is for all – even those with minimal sewing or quilting experience.
“Often we see travesties and don’t know how to help but this is an easy skill set that people can do to contribute in a big, meaningful way,” Sky said. “Even if they don’t have fabric, needles or sewing skills, we need people to help with cutting fabric and other things.”
Cloth Castle will cover the costs of shipping the material to the Australian craft guild but is also seeking donations to help with the expense.
Admission to the Pouch-making Party to help Australia’s Wildlife is free. The event is on Thursday, Jan. 16 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Cloth Castle (786 Goldstream Ave.) Those interested in joining can RSVP on the event’s Facebook page.
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