East Texans answer call to sew items for animal victims of Australia fires

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TYLER, Texas (KETK) – We East Texans as a whole are animal lovers.

Images of our puppers and kittehs fill our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter feeds. We volunteer at animal shelters or give money, we adopt and foster animals in need of “furever” homes.

So it is little wonder that while we are shocked, horrified, and grieved by the human suffering brought on by the catastrophic wildfires ravaging Australia, we are just as heartsick at the suffering of the animals.

FIEL – In this image made from video taken on Dec. 22, 2019, and provided by Oakbank Balhannah CFS, a koala drinks water from a bottle given by a firefighter in Cudlee Creek, South Australia. Thousands of koalas are feared to have died in a wildfire-ravaged area north of Sydney, further diminishing Australia’s iconic marsupial, while the fire danger accelerated Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019 in the country’s east as temperatures soared. (Oakbank Balhannah CFS via AP, File)

We weep over photos and videos of dead and injured koalas, kangaroos, and wallabies just as we do over photos and videos of burned homes, ruined landscapes, and heroic, exhausted firefighters.

Some East Texans, however, have decided to do more than weep.

We recently introduced you to Connie Fleming, owner of Sew Craftie. Connie is a talented crafter who has devoted her “hobby” to benefitting the SPCA of East Texas, making and selling handmade items to help animals here in East Texas.

Koala rescued from Australian bushfire (NBC News)

As stunned as anyone else by the carnage in Australia, however, Connie has taken her hobby, and her love for animals, international. Touched by the images of joeys, or baby kangaroos without the mother, she turned her hand, literally, to sewing pouches for them and wallabies, as well as wraps for bats and mittens for koalas.

Then she invited others to join her and set up a day for an old-fashioned sewing circle Saturday.

Several women answered that call. For five hours, these ladies put their own sewing talents to use for the good of animals almost a thousand miles away. They made pouches, wraps, and mittens, all to be sent to Australia.

“It’s just amazing to me,” said Connie, “how many people want to help and that there are still good people out in the world, a lot, a lot of good people, because you know, there’s so much bad stuff going on in the world right now.”

If you want to be part of Connie’s effort to help these animals, you can check out her Facebook page, Sew Craftie.

If you’re not sure exactly how to sew a kangaroo pouch or koala mittens, Connie has some YouTube videos that might help.

And if you’re not terribly crafty but still want to help, Connie’s got you covered there, too.

Meet Lewis the Koala Bear, sewn with love. He can be yours, courtesy of Connie, and all proceeds will go to help his real-life kin facing such a heart wrenching struggle Down Under.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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