Nfld. & Labrador

These N.L. crafters are making joey pouches to help injured Australian animals

Thousands of people are using their crafting prowess as a way to help injured animals in Australia, including these women on both coasts of Newfoundland.

'I was looking for a way to help ... this is kind of right up my alley,' says Amanda Young

Besides sewing pouches, Amanda Young is collecting donations to help animal rescue efforts in Australia. (Roo Roo Photography)

It's been a decade since Amanda Young visited Australia, but she felt compelled to help after seeing the fire-ravaged images and hearing about the hundred of millions of dead animals — and so she turned to her sewing machine to help.

Young is one of a dozen people in the Corner Brook area making joey pouches for Australia's injured and orphaned animals. They are used to hold baby kangaroos, called joeys, and other marsupials like a mother's pouch. 

"I was looking for a way to help and I am fairly crafty so this is kind of right up my alley," Young said.

Thousands of people across the country are putting their crafting prowess toward a good cause, including making bird and rodent nests, bat wraps, hanging pouches, blankets, animal beds and sweaters, possum and bird boxes.

Animals are near and dear to Young's heart already, as she runs Danny's Paw Prints, a pet grooming and supply business in Corner Brook.

She isn't the only animal-lover in Newfoundland pitching in.

Amanda Sharpe is the organizer behind a group sew-in at Corner Brook's Elk's Lodge on Sunday where there will be donated fabric and extra sewing machines for people who want to join in, and no previous sewing experience is required. 

Besides organizing a group sew-in, seamstress Amanda Sharpe has started sewing joey pouches at home. (Submitted by Amanda Sharpe)

"Even if they can cut some fabric for us, we can get the process going quicker," she told CBC Radio's Newfoundland Morning.

Once they have a shipment of pouches to go, they will be sent to St. John's on Jan. 21.

Patterns and a list of approved materials are available on sites like the Canadian Animal Rescue Craft Guild or the Facebook group From Newfoundland to Australia with Love.

Hand-made joey pouches, like these ones with a Newfoundland flair, are headed to Australia to help some of the injured or orphaned animals there. (Submitted by Amanda Sharpe)

East coast crafter helping, too

St. John's crafter Jacquie Jackson is hoping businesses will step in to help. 

She said donations of natural materials like cotton or wool are welcome and while the goal is to start shipping donations soon, admits sending packages halfway around the world won't be cheap.

"We've had one local company that's come forward so far and they're going to do our first shipment for us," Jackson said. "So we're basically looking for any local company that will come forward and ship even one box for us."

As the fires continue to burn in Australia, and the need for animal care products continues, Young said she will keep crafting for the important cause.

Volunteer Sarah Price of wildlife rescue group WIRES taking care of a rescued kangaroo at her house on the outskirts of Sydney. (SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

"It's a pretty undescribable feeling," Young said.

"You feel so heartbroken for the animals but it also feels really good to be able to do something that you know will help them." 

Read more stories from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


Cherie Wheeler is a Corner Brook radio producer working with CBC Newfoundland Morning.

Newfoundland Morning and St. John's Morning Show