Stuffed Animal Donations Overwhelming; Now Consider Fostering

When Knox County Juvenile Court Judge Tim Irwin asked the community before last Christmas to donate stuffed animals so that children who come to court could be comforted, he didn’t know what to expect. Now the toys fill bookcases and tables in the judge's office, and plastic bags loaded with animals line a hallway outside, as well as a space donated by an area moving company. Irwin says it started last summer when the Black Law Students organization at Lincoln Memorial University donated several bags of the toys to his court. Irwin said he accepted the donations, with no idea how powerful the stuffed animals would be. Irwin asks for the donations from the community to stop for now, but has another request. "We have a big-time need for people to open their hearts and their homes to be foster parents," he said. With so few foster homes available locally, Irwin said, he has been sending East Tennessee children to Memphis foster homes. The News Sentinel has the story.