This Setauket elementary school student is making it her mission to help Australian wildlife affected by raging wildfires that have killed an estimated 1 billion animals.
Eleven-year-old Lily Rosengard learned about the wildfires while watching the news and knew she had to take action.
“I’ve been feeling so horrible about the animals that have been hurt in Australia,” she said. “Their parents are dying so they’re orphaned … I decided to make pouches to help the babies who need their mothers pouches to finish development.”
She began researching different patterns that could be used to help baby kangaroos.
Made up of two parts, the inside fabric is soft and resembles the pouch of a mother marsupial. The outside is crafted out of flannel, cotton or fleece. Each pouch takes just 25 minutes to make.
Debbie Rosengard, the sixth-grader’s mom, said that Lily came up with the concept. The family helped get the word out.
“I originally put a little post on Facebook and it’s been fantastic ever since,” she said. “She’s really a great kid.”
Lily started sewing them just a week ago. She made about four-dozen pouches at home with friends. Then her Girl Scout troop got involved.
Then the rest of the community.
A member of the Setauket Elementary School student council, Lily recently asked her peers to help. Since Monday, 40 members of the student council have made over 100 “Joey Pouches” all headed for Australia.
“We are really thrilled to have students like Lily at our school, and we’re very proud that she’s started this initiative to make a difference in the world,” said Pamela Austin, a co-advisor to the school’s student council. “Our community has really come together and we’re proud of every one of these students who are giving their own time to help Lily and this endeavor.”
The student council members have been tracing and cutting fabrics, and Lily sews the pieces together — in their free time.
Lily’s friends are happy to be a part of the movement.
“Getting everyone involved to help Australia is really awesome,” said Kaede Urso, 11, as she picked a fabric to start tracing.
“It’s exciting that just one person can spread joy and enthusiasm to help,” Lily’s mom added.
In under a week, Lily’s awareness efforts have helped raise over $4,500 for Australia’s wildlife victims. Those who wish to help donate can visit www.wires.org.au.
“The whole community has been helping me with everything,” Lily said smiling. “It feels really great that we’re helping these animals.”
Scroll below for photos of Lily and her friends / All photos by Julianne Mosher