Foundation | News Article

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Support Niswonger Children’s Hospital: Put a bear on your bumper
Buying a Niswonger "Scrubs the Bear" license plate helps to restock the toy room for kids having surgery.

Support Niswonger Children’s Hospital: Put a bear on your bumper

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Niswonger Children’s Hospital needs to have sales of 800 license plates each year to maintain its specialized plate status with the state of Tennessee. The motto: “Put a bear on your bumper!”

A portion of the statewide sales of the plate, adorned with the hospital’s friendly mascot, Scrubs the Bear, funds toy purchases for children having surgery at the hospital.

“No one wants to be in a hospital having surgery, but letting our young patients pick out a special gift before their procedure is a small way to make their stay at Niswonger Children’s Hospital more pleasant,” said Cookie McKinney, manager for children’s initiatives at Mountain States Foundation. “It’s a little thing that can make a big difference. Picking out a gift can definitely brighten their day.”

Every three months, Niswonger surgical nurses go shopping to restock the toy room. They load up shopping carts with stuffed animals, balls, art supplies, games, dolls, jewelry and more – and try to have a selection that offers something for toddlers, elementary ages and teenagers. Niswonger’s surgery patients can enter the toy room before their procedure to hand-pick a toy of their very own to take home after they leave the hospital. Gift cards are often given to teens.

The license plates are a way for supporters of Niswonger Children’s Hospital to not just donate money for the toy fund, but to also promote the area’s only children’s hospital everywhere they drive their car.

Niswonger license tags are available at any Tennessee county clerk’s office where people normally buy their tags. Ask specifically for Niswonger Children’s Hospital tags. The annual cost is $56.50, with a portion of that fee allocated to the plate’s beneficiary. The plate can be personalized with five characters available.

For information on how to buy a Niswonger Children's Hospital license tag, visit