Volunteer Spirit: New & used stuffed animals bring comfort to traumatized kids

It's sad, but true, not a day goes by without some type of emergency in East Tennessee.

Some are more serious than others and some involve innocent children.

Lieutenant Larry Cash with the Knox County Sheriff's Office says, "Not only accidents, but domestic violence issues, there's children that witness these horrific things and they're crying, they don't know who to turn to."

That's why emergency workers like to carry stuffed animals in their vehicles, they call "comfort bears," for the kids.

"Something they can recognize, because they are among st a bunch of strangers and they recognize that bear. It's something they can hold and hug during what can be a very trying time in their lives," says Cash.

Lexus of Knoxville, is the collection site for the comfort bears.
The owners of the dealership came up with the idea, and call it the big give.

Gary Hughes, one of the managers at Lexus of Knoxville says, "Our customers have been very responsive to leave the dealership and gather up some stuffed animals and they'll bring them right back. The White family (who own the dealership) is deep rooted in the area for 5-6 generations now. It's very very important for the family to give back to the community where they have been doing business in."

The goal is to pack the showroom with plush toys, then all police cars, fire engines and EMS vehicles across East Tennessee .But it will take your volunteer spirit!

This is the second year for the Comfort Bears. Last year, Lexus of Knoxville collected about 4,000. This year they're hoping for 10,000.

You can drop off your new or gently used stuffed animals at Lexus of Knoxville through April 31st.

Lexus of Knoxville, WVLT and B97.5 are working together to make Comfort Bears a success!

Stanley Steamer is cleaning the slightly used items.


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