What’s the point in keeping toys when your children no longer need them? Either your child is no longer interested in a particular set of toys or they no longer play with toys at all, why throw the toys away when there are other children who badly need those toys? Apart from the fact that toys you donate could put smiles on the faces of other children, donating is a very good way to recycle and prevent waste.
We have put together a list of different organizations that would accept used toys to help their causes. Why not find a cause close to your heart, and donate toys to that organization?
Salvation Army is a church and internationally recognized charity organization. Founded in the UK, the Salvation Army has actively provided charity to the needy in different countries for more than 150 years. The mission of the charity; to meet human need without discrimination is why they carry out various programs including adult rehabilitation, care for the homeless, and helping the needy celebrate Christmas.
The Salvation Army runs a chain of thrift stores. The items donated to the charity are sold in the thrift stores, and the proceeds are then used to help the needy in that particular community. TO donate toys to Salvation army, you can either have them picked up or drop it off at one of the locations close to you. Visit their website to know more.
Just like Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries also resells donated items. However, they do it a little differently. Since 1902, Goodwill has been committed to helping the less privileged fight poverty, but not just by giving them things, by helping them find work and develop skills.
A recognized American nonprofit organization, Goodwill accepts donations, hires people without an education or otherwise disabled to repair the donated items, the donated items are then sold at the stores and the proceeds are used to pay the salaries of the workers. Apart from being just a form of charity, this also serves as an avenue to recycle old toys. And although, there are different members of Goodwill Industries International, the mission still remains the same.
Right now, you can visit any Goodwill store to drop off toys you would like to donate.
Stuffed Animals For Emergencies
Also known as SAFE, the name pretty much says it all. The charity is dedicated to providing stuffed animals to help children feel safe in emergencies. Since 1997, SAFE has provided for children in emergencies. If you intend on donating toys to safe, they must be stuffed animals, not battery operated, clean and not torn.
To donate, visit the website to find the SAFE chapter closest to you, the chapters page will provide you with the contact information of various members who will put you through on how to donate. Chapter members are volunteers in different communities who take donations, clean the items and then find places to donate the items in their localities. Alternatively, you can visit their Urgent Needs page.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit global organization that helps families in need of decent and affordable housing become homeowners. Present in all 50 states of the US and in 70 other countries, Habitat for Humanity helps families build their houses and pay affordable mortgage.
One of the ways they raise funds are through the Habitat for Humanity ReStores. The ReStores, run by local Habitat organizations accept and resell different houseware including toys. You can donate gently used toys at a Habitat ReStore near you.
Children Homes or Shelters
A lot of children homes would gladly accept toy donations for the children that stay there. So, if there’s an orphanage or home for children close to you, you should consider donating toys there. However, make sure to call the director first. Also, a lot of children in the foster care system might have to stay with families who can not afford to spend on toys, donating toys to foster care agencies could help a child.
You can also donate to shelters. Most shelters do not even have sufficient budgets, but donating toys to women’s shelters or homeless shelters could help cheer a child up. You can contact the organizations running these shelters directly or call your local social services office to know more.
Hope Services is based in and operates around the San Francisco Bay Area. They provide different services including helping children with special needs, providing work and training to individuals in need of them, helping seniors with developmental disabilities, and generally improving the community.
Hope Services also run different HopeTHRIFT stores that sell various goods in categories such as ‘like new’ and ‘gently used’. If you live in the area, you can donate your toys to be sold at their stores, and the proceeds help the foundation in their mission. Visit their website to see drop-off locations or schedule a pick up.
If you’re familiar with the humane society, you’re probably thinking: “I can donate used baby toys to the human society?” No, but you can donate gently used animal toys to the Humane Society.
Vietnam Veterans of America
The VVA was established in 1978, after other established Veteran groups did not prioritize issues Vietnam veterans faced. The VVA is determined to correct this neglect, and prevent it from happening to other veterans in future. The VVA is determined to help all veterans claim their benefits, and provide assistance to all veterans facing homelessness, experiencing PTSD, or battling substance abuse.
So how does donating toys help veterans? The VVA sells donated toys, with other items to private companies. They then use the funds raised to further their mission. You can schedule a pick up on the VVA’s website.
Society of St. Vincent de Paul:
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is an international and voluntary organization of the Catholic Church. Originally established in 1844, it came to the United States in 1845. The nonprofit organization is determined to help the poor and all who need help by “seeking out and utilizing every resource”. In 2015, the society spent more than $500 million on programs that included visits to prisons and homes, trainings and job placements, providing transportation, caring for the elderly, etc.
Donations to the society are resold at their thrift stores which then serves as their major source of income. Today, the society has more than 100 stores across the United states. Visit their website to find the nearest store or donation site to you.
Public Schools or Daycare Centers
You would know that a lot of public schools are really underfunded, and thus, a lot of them might not be able to purchase a lot of toys for their elementary schools. Why not help out by donating toys which are in good condition and your children no longer need?
You can also donate to daycare centers around you. Naturally, toys don’t last long at daycare centers, so find out if they need some and donate. You could also specially help out nonprofit daycare centers or daycare centers run by churches (churches usually offer these services at low prices).
Operation Homefront is a nonprofit organization committed to taking care of military families in need. Founded in 2001, the organization has provided financial assistance, permanent housing, among other services to military families.
To find out how to support with your toys, mail them at [email protected]
Second Chance Toys
Throwing plastic toys away contributes heavily to waste. Since they are not bio-degradable, they end up in landfills. However, donating to second chance toys is an opportunity to recycle and donate to families living below the federal poverty level.
Second Chance Toys has a couple of drop-off locations, visit their website to find the one closest to you. If there is none close to you, but you are able to collect up to 50 toys in your community, you can schedule a pick up with Second Chance. Toys being donated should not have small parts which can easily fall out, and should have batteries if needed.
When donating toys, please make sure the toys are clean, still complete, and would actually make another child smile. Also, do not wrap toys you intend to donate.