The devastation of the Australian fires prompted St. John’s Lutheran Church, located at 206 E Main Street in Bath, to hold a sew-a-thon on January 18, in the Fellowship Hall, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Australian wildfires killed one billion animals and injured over 480 million. Due to this devastation, Australian animal rescues are in dire need of sewn items to help comfort and heal the injured kangaroos, wallabies, bats, koalas, and other native animals.

“Australia has been experiencing wildfires for months now that are unprecedented. This is one of those things you see, and even though it’s so far away, you try to do anything you can to reach out and help,” said Connie Lusto, one of the organizers of the sew-a-thon.

Sewing patterns, which were approved by the rescues, were available during the sew-a-thon to create specific wraps and pouches. Knitters and crocheters were welcome to join in as well to help create nests for the smaller animals. Other volunteers helped by cutting fabrics and ironing them at the ironing stations. The rescue organizations in Australia required the fabric to be cotton, which could come from old shirts, curtains or tablecloths. The volunteers were asked to bring sewing machines, threads of any color, scissors, pins, irons and ironing boards, rotary cutters, cutting mats, yard sticks, and their own knitting or crocheting tools. Many volunteers throughout the community gladly donated their time and sewing skills to help achieve the sew-a-thon’s goals.

“Kathy Walsch, the other event organizer and the pastor’s wife, and myself are absolutely humbled by the many people from all over the area that braved the weather to come together to help our Australian neighbors. We had around 100 people show up and a bunch of them took fabric home with them when the weather started to get really bad out,” said Lusto.

“Our volunteers sewed, knitted, and crocheted a total of 266 items, with more on the way. It was more than we could have hoped for and are so grateful for their time and donations,” added Lusto.

The church provided snacks, sweet treats, lunch, and drinks to all of the volunteers.

All the finished items are being mailed to hubs in Australia that will distribute the sewn items to the rescues in need. These hubs are organized by volunteers for the Animal Rescue Collective and the Animal Rescue Craft Guild. If you would like to make a donation, please visit


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