Jude Caswell shows off some bat wraps, a small blanket with an attached pillow that caregivers can wrap the bats in. (Contributed)

Shuswap family craft way to help animals affected by Australian bush fires

Mother and son use their sewing abilities to craft pouches and blankets

A Shuswap family is joining forces with thousands of arts and crafts enthusiasts to help animals affected by the fires in Australia.

Upon hearing the devastating news of the fires that have destroyed more than 1,700 homes and reportedly killed millions of wild animals, Jessica Caswell of Salmon Arm knew she couldn’t sit idly by. Inspired by several Facebook groups, she enlisted the help of her son and started making custom textiles for animals affected by the fires.

Read more: Canadian basketball star Kia Nurse donating to Australia wildfire relief efforts

Read more: ‘Millions of sparks’: Weather raises Australia’s fire danger

Among these animal garments are bat wraps, a small blanket with an attached pillow that caregivers can wrap the bats in, nests for now homeless birds and different sizes of pouches for marsupials of various ages.

Together the mother and son duo have made 10 items in just a few days. The crafts are sent to a hub before being distributed to various wildlife centres and camps.

“Seeing the news, it’s heartbreaking what’s happening there,” Caswell said, her voice cracking with emotion. “We’re big animal fans in our house so we just thought, anything we can do to help.”

To be a part of their mission, the pair is looking for donations of materials or assistance with shipping costs. Caswell can be contacted at jessica_caswell@hotmail.ca. Donations of cotton, flannel, needles and thread are being accepted at Parkview Elementary and can be dropped off in Mrs. Vlieg’s classroom.

Read more: Canada sends two more groups to Australia to help fight wildfires

Read more: B.C. company sends helicopters to Chile, Australia to fight wildfires

Jessica and her son Jude are far from alone in their humanitarian crafting endeavours. The Canadian Animal Rescue Craft group on Facebook has more than 4,500 members who share patterns and advice on how to create various crafts for animals. The Animal Rescue Craft Guild, a worldwide Facebook group with similar goals has nearly 125,000 members.


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Jude Caswell and his mother Jessica Caswell show off pouches they made together to help animals affected by fires in Australia. (Contributed)

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