SUDBURY -- A group of Sudbury crafters, along with many others across Canada, has joined the seams to create blankets, pouches and wraps to help care for animals affected by the Australian wildfires, big and small. The push is coming to ship them off to Australia and Air Canada has joined the cause by offering several free cargo shipments from hub locations across the nation.

The wildfires have devastated a large portion of natural habitats for the wildlife. The Canadian Animal Rescue Collective Craft Guild has been working alongside the Animal Rescue Collective Craft Guild out of Australia. Each major hub city across Canada has craft guild Facebook pages to co-ordinate dropoffs of materials and completed projects. Group administrators are all working together to co-ordinate collecting and shipping the products to the main Australian group for assessment of items and distribution to the rescued animals displaced by the wildfires.

In Sudbury, Kaitlyn Vallieres is an admin and her shop is a hub location to receive donations. She is also working as an admin for the Canadian guild, helping to co-ordinate information and shipping. “I didn’t know really what I could do to help, but I knew that I wanted to get involved someway,” Vallieres said.  “I initially came across the animal rescue craft guild, their Facebook page. Then I was like, oh maybe there’s a Canadian one. So I scrolled down a little bit sure enough there was a link and from there on I just sort of become part of it.”

The Sudbury group has over 300 members helping this initiative and the Canadian guild has over 11,000 members. “Canada has really come together to support Australia. The support in the north is just, it’s fabulous,” Vallieres said.

The original Australian guild that Vallieres first found already has over 232,000 members. There are smaller hub guilds all over the world, sewing together to help the best way they can.

Organizing the shipping and sending of materials to Australia is a big task. The guilds have collectivelyset up a GoFundMe page to help with the cost of shipping, Vallieres told CTV News.

In a YouTube video Vallieres said funds will first be used “to pay back our drop off locations for sending all of the donated items to the main hub for this bulk shipment.”

There will be seven full skids of medical supplies and materials coming from all over Ontario.

Air Canada shipment dates:

  • Halifax is the first cargo flight departing Jan. 17 (shipping out 148 kg of material goods,including 38 boxes of medical supplies).
  • Ottawa departs on Jan. 20
  • Toronto departs on Jan. 22
  • Montréal and Calgary on Jan. 24
  • Vancouver on Jan.27

In a YouTube video, Vallieres said that after the shipments have been paid back the remaining funds “will be given to a vetted organization in Australia that will help pay for food, medicines, medical supplies, anything that they might need that we can’t necessarily provide.”