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It's not your average Home Ec project: Students sew to help Australia's animals
BARRIE -- It's a labour of love for the students at Algonquin Ridge Elementary School in Barrie.
Since last Monday, they've been sewing pouches and wraps for the animals in Australia, injured and displaced by the brushfires.
"Even though they're halfway across the world from us, something so little as this can help them," says grade eight student Autumn Bailey, "I'm glad we get to be a part of that."
Grade six student Chloe Robinson says it makes her feel good, "I'm like making a difference in the world, and I might be saving an animal's life."
According to Algonquin Ridge teacher and librarian, Rachelle Rossignol, the initiative started after she read a news article on the Animal Rescue Craft Guild Facebook page.
"It was a cry for help asking for some of these pouches to be made," she says. Rossignol started the project with just four classes, "it has just blown up. We are now expanded to 10 classes, and all of the junior and intermediate students are a part of this."
It's now feared more than one billion animals have died since the brushfires began last year in Australia, and to this day, it continues to rip across the continent.
Rossignol says the situation has allowed the teachers to educate students in a more in-depth way about the crisis.
"They're learning about why these animals are suffering and why it's important to have these pouches - because they don't have their mothers to help nurture them."
So far, students and teachers have made about 100 pouches, which is more than half their goal; but that wouldn't have been possible if a local business hadn't stepped up.
Fabricland on Bayfield Street in Barrie donated about $200 worth of fabric to the cause.
"They answered our cry for help, says Rossignol, "they donated an enormous amount of fabric, and they're the reason why we're so far ahead right now."
The school aims to sew about 200 pouches, one from each student, by the end of the week. They'll ship the packages to Australia on Saturday.