MORE than 1.25 billion animals were killed in the 2019 / 2020 bushfires and many more injured and in need of care.
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Abandoned, orphaned and injured Australian natives; in particular young marsupials need extra special care.
Port Stephens local Kerrie Cottrill of Anna Bay wanted to do something to help.
Sewing pouches was something Kerrie could do, and she did.
After one day of making possum pouches on her own, she realised that one person sewing wasn’t going to meet the needs of wildlife carers.
Kerrie decided that she needed to mobilise the people that also wanted to help and create a production line.
In a few short days, Kerrie had organised for Council to donate the space for the work and for community members to collect and donate cotton, linen and wool for the pouches and to seek volunteers who came out of the woodwork armed with sewing machines, scissors and a positive attitude.
The support of the local community and businesses has been somewhat overwhelming for Kerrie.
Kerrie Cottrill told News Of The Area, “Woolworths donated morning tea, Ruby Blue Café at Anna Bay brought sandwich platters and so many volunteers simply turned up.”
“It has been incredibly heartening and I have been very emotional about the response and for what everyone has done.”
Kerrie was motivated by the need to preserve the surviving wildlife as she along with many other Australians now sees the potential for species that weren’t on the endangered species list that are now species that we could lose.
She realised that she needed more people so she started contacting women’s groups and contacting as many people as she could to raise awareness and get help.
“It has been outstandingly successful, and that’s because there were people out there like me that thought what can we do and didn’t know what to do.”
One local woman said, she made five pouches and when she mailed them the cost was $12 and she felt that this was a barrier.
“People want to physically do something and this has given them an outlet,” she said.
The group made over 1000 pouches in various sizes which will be transported in a convoy to Sydney where WIRES will distribute them to the carers that need them.
Kerrie is planning a second working bee to make even more pouches in the near future.
Donations of natural fibre sheets and blankets and of course volunteer sewers will all be welcome for round two of this movement which has caught off in the Port Stephens community.
If you can make a cup of tea, cut, sort, fold or participate in quality control, you can help.
By Marian SAMPSON