Furries for fosters helps over 1,000 foster children

Sophomore Aaliyah Tournier has collected 367 stuffed animals and 238 blankets for foster kids in the area.

Sophomore Aaliyah Tournier has been helping foster kids in the Cedar Valley find hope for three years now. Furries 4 Fosters is a project that acts as a support system for foster kids by donating stuffed animals and blankets to kids of all ages. Tournier donates these blankets and gifts through programs like Iowa DHS, the Allen Child Protection Center and Kaden’s Kloset. What inspires her the most to push forward with this project is that she has seen foster kids come into her own family with the bare minimum. Tournier said, “We’ve had six foster kids in our family and usually most of them don’t come with anything except for the clothes on their back, so I thought they should have something they can keep with them anytime they move to a new home, so it’s something that’s just always there for them.” Tournier also has ideas for expansion. “A big goal that I have is to eventually make it nationwide. That’s probably going to take a long time, but I want to help more kids, not just in the Cedar Valley. I want to help kids all around the U.S. because they are foster kids, and they deserve to have something to hold on to.” After a few years of going through the process of actually giving the blankets and stuffed animals away, Tournier knows the system. “We give them to the DHS, so whenever new kids come into the DHS offices, they are able to pick out a new stuffed animal and blanket. We give them to the Allen Child Protection Center, so whenever they go into Allen, they can pick them as well, and with Kaden’s Kloset, their parents actually shop for them, and so their parents get them those kinds of things. And last, for the Foster Care Christmas Party, the kids come and they are able to pick things out themselves.” One of Tournier’s favorite moments while working on Furries 4 Fosters happened at a Christmas party event. “Two years ago, when we first did the support group Christmas party, we were in a church, and it was really hot. I remember we had all of the stuffed animals set out, and there was this huge, I mean giant, stuffed penguin. I was like, ‘Who would want one this giant?’ Well, there was this one specific little girl that had her eye on it all day. When we finally told the kids they could go pick out a stuffed animal, she ran, and I mean ran to go and get it. She ran back up to her dad and was like ‘Look, Dad, I got it!’ It was really heartwarming. For those looking for updates with Furries 4 Fosters or wanting to participate in the uplifting project that has reached out and helped over 1,000 foster kids, you can keep up to date by following her Facebook page, Furries 4 Fosters. Tournier has events coming up very soon. “There’s a Kaden’s Kloset event this Saturday, December, 8th. At this event, parents pick out things for kids, and the kids do crafts in another room. Another one that I’m doing is the Foster Care Christmas Party on December, 11th, which is like a support group for the kids. They have food and supplies there and the kids can just take what they need.” Tourniers’ group is still in need of both blankets and stuffed animals for these events.  If you would like to donate, you can reach out to Tournier using her email address, furries4fosters@gmail.com or send a Facebook message to her page. 

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