SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Help from all over the globe is pouring in for wildlife in Australia following the ongoing, devastating brushfires.
An estimated one billion animals have perished in the flames. A newly crafted local group met Saturday for the first time to put their crafting creativity to use. This isn’t just any old knitting party happening in the Cianfichi home.
“The point is we want these things that we’re making and all of our love is going into them. We want them to go to kangaroos and wallabies and koalas,” organizer Kristin Cianfichi said.
When Cianfichi and Christine Krizovich heard about the Australian wildfires, they knew they just had to help.
“You start seeing the images of critters coming out and those that are burned or are running from the fire and it’s heartbreaking,” Cianfichi said.
“I cried. I cried probably several times about this. It’s just so devastating,” Krizovich said.
The two women decided to knit and sew pouches and make bedding for the kangaroos, koalas and other animals rescued in Australia. They shared their idea on social media. In no time, they had about a dozen people from northeastern Pennsylvania and even some from as far away as California ready to craft.
“So this was a great way to reach out and show our support to Australia and let them know we’re here for them and also for their animals,” Krizovich said.
Now, these crafts can take quite some time to make. For example, a micro pouch for infant joeys to keep warm takes about three hours to make according to Cianfichi.
“The fear is you don’t want the animal’s little, tiny paws to get caught in the stitch. Because it’s so tight, it takes a long time,” Cianfichi said.
Using the Animal Rescue Collective Crafters Guild in Australia as a guide, the group crafts these pouches made entirely from wool and cotton cloth, both with natural fibers. That way the material doesn’t stick to the burns of injured animals.
“It’s really important to raise awareness about our responsibility to the environment and to everything that lives on this planet,” Cianfichi said.
The group plans to have a shipment of items sent to Australia this week. It costs about $100 per 20 pounds to ship the handmade crafts to Australia. The group is also looking to donate some of their crafts to help local wildlife.