Attention crafters: You can help animal victims of Australia wildfires this Sunday


(WIVB) – Here’s a crafty way to support the animal victims of wildfires in Australia.

You can put your sewing, knitting, or crocheting skills to work this Sunday at the Australia Support Craft-A-Thon, held at Aurora Sewing Center, 8575 Main St. in Williamsville.

Participants will be making items like joey pouches, animal beds, and flat bat wraps to be sent to Australia to help in wildlife aid.

“A lot of the kangaroos, the koalas, they’ve been burned and they’ve lost their parents,” event organizer Victoria Troutman said. “Kangaroos especially need the pouch of their mom- they would just crawl in [to the crafted joey pouch) and it feels like they’re in their mom’s pouch.”

Australia’s Animal Rescue Craft Guild has been collecting the items for wildlife victims. The response from around the world has been so strong, they’ve put a pause on collecting new donations while they assess their stock.

“We’re going to continue our event so that when they’re done and inneed again, we’ll have plenty of products to send out,” Troutman said.

Any crafts that can’t be used immediately will be sent to local shelters, she added .

Sunday’s event will include a visit by kangaroos from Niagara County Down Under, based out of Sanborn.

The organization is currently home to 12 kangaroos and two wallabies, all born and raised in the U.S., owner Laura Kagels said.

“We get them from zoos, bottle feed them, and take them all over with us,” Kagels said.

There has been an outpouring of support for wildlife injured in the Australian wildfires, but Kagels stresses that it’s important to check the cause you’re donating to.

“Just like everything with social media and the internet, you never know what’s real and what’s not,” Kagels said.

If you can’t make Sunday’s event (noon to 4 p.m.), you can donate directly to the ARC Craft Guild’s Animal Rescue Collective here.

You can also donate 100 percent cotton or flannel materials for the Craft-A-Thon by reaching out to Troutman via the event Facebook page.

Niagara County Down Under will opening an interactive kangaroo experience this year.

“People will be able to go into the enclosures and hold and snuggle the babies,” Kagels said. “People love them- I hear “you’ve checked an item off my bucket list” all the time.”

Kagels says that once the facility opens, a portion of its proceeds will go to support Australian native wildlife affected by wildfires and Australian wildlife conservation efforts.

You can follow Niagara County Down Under on Facebook for updates.

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