Woman sews pouches for animals affected by Australia bushfires

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SAN DIEGO -- Patsy Ford has been sewing for 30 years, but she’s never sewed to make something quite like this.

“This is different,” the 85-year-old Spring Valley resident said. “I know very little about marsupials. I’m aware they exist.”

From her house in the Covenant Living at Mount Miguel community, Ford has watched coverage of the wildfires decimating Australia, burning tens of thousands of acres.

“How can this happen?” Ford said. “It’s so sad.”

Nearly half a billion animals have been impacted by the fires. Some have been orphaned, especially the kangaroos and wallabies.

“That’s all they’ve known: a pouch and a pouch pocket,” Ford said. “I’ve made hundreds and thousands of them.”

Thanks to instructions posted online from an animal group in Australia, Ford has the blueprint on how to make pouches herself.

“The first thing you do is make the strap that goes across,” she said. She then proceeds to cut it. “You can string as many on your arms as comfortable.”

Ford said each pouch takes 15 to 20 minutes to make. She hopes to soon ship them all out to Washington, where they'll be distributed from there.

“It feels good," she said. "It’s a feel-good thing.”

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