As your children get older, they'll outgrow some of their toys that are likely still in good condition. Instead of throwing them away or leaving them in your closets to gather dust, consider sharing them with organizations that can help get them into the hands of youngsters who will appreciate them.
If you're wondering where you can donate used toys, we break down some of the best spots to give away these items to share some joy this holiday season!
16 Places That Accept Used Toy Donations
Lots of charities and other organizations accept toy donations. Some charitable groups sell donated toys, providing support for a good cause. Others distribute the toys they receive directly to underprivileged youngsters, and many make the toys available to the children who utilize their services, providing entertainment during difficult times. Here are some great places to consider when looking to donate used toys.
If your community has a shelter for domestic violence survivors or a homeless shelter that accepts families, consider sharing toys that your child no longer wants or needs with the organization. These types of shelters operate on shoestring budgets and rely heavily on donations. Toys can be an important part of the healing process for children in these difficult situations.
Charitable groups such as Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and the St. Vincent de Paul Society accept donations of all types of secondhand items, including toys, for resale in thrift shops. Most of these types of shops take donations during their standard hours of operation, as well as via drop boxes placed in various areas within the communities they serve.
It's likely you think of the library as simply a place to donate books, but many also have lending programs for toys, especially for younger children. It's worth the time it takes to make a call to your local branch to see if they offer these types of services.
If you'd like your toys to take on a new life, consider donating them to young artists. Many want bright and colorful items to use to enhance their projects. Who knows? Your old toys may end up in a masterpiece someday!
Operation Homefront helps to serve military families in need with a wide variety of programs. Contact them to find out about local families and service projects that would be eager to take in toy donations.
Believe it or not, several museums in the United States would welcome your donations to enhance their exhibits. These include the Strong Museum of Play and the Tulsa Children's Museum. You may have a local children's museum near you that accepts used toys. Contact each museum directly to see specific requirements.
If a hospital has toys in the waiting room, they were likely donated. When facing medical treatments, or simply waiting for a family member, most will welcome the distraction that your donation can give.
Foster kids are often shuttled from house to house, and many foster families don't have a lot of extra money to spend on toys. That's why organizations such as Foster Cares are always in need of donations. Contact your local Department of Social Services to find a similar program in your area.
Preschools and Daycares
Most preschools and daycare organizations have limited resources unless they are a private facility. Many religious organizations also operate nonprofit daycare and mom's day out programs. Many of them accept donations of toys that are appropriate for the age group of children who participate in their programs.
Check with each daycare or preschool first to find out their policies. Even if they don't use them in their workplace, they might be happy to provide the toys in a "take home" donation box for parents when they come to drop off and pick up their children.
Stuffed Animals for Emergencies
This is a charitable organization that provides comfort to children in traumatic situations by gifting toys, books, clothing, and blankets. Local chapters happily take donations of gently used toys, especially stuffed animals.
Second Chance Toys
This organization is dedicated to providing toys to children living at or below the poverty level in communities across the nation. They collect plastic toys only and they must have all of their parts with batteries included. They also require that the toys not have any small parts. There are plenty of drop-off locations where you can bring the toys.
Police and Fire Departments
Speak to your local police and fire departments about whether they would like to have some used toys on hand. When children need to be at the station when their family is dealing with a crisis, it's very helpful for the staff to have some toys for the children to play with to keep their minds occupied. Stuffed animals are great options, but any type of toy can work.
Some animal shelters will happily take stuffed animals, provided they're safe for their animals. That means stuffed animals that don't have any small parts, like button eyes or electronic parts, that can be ripped off and ingested. They also must not be stuffed with any materials that might be harmful to the animals, like beads.
Just as much as dogs may enjoy playing and ripping up stuffed animals, many also will simply love having something soft to cuddle with to reduce their kennel stress. Talk to your shelter first about what types of toys they will take.
Many small, local organizations accept toy donations that may not have this information listed on their website or public brochures. An easy way to find these organizations is to use the Donation Town website. Just enter your zip code and you will get a list of organizations that provide pick-up service for your type of donation.
You can use a site like Freecycle to list your toys and give them to people who want them. You can also list them for free on selling sites like Facebook Marketplace and Nextdoor. There are also some apps on your smartphone that you can use to give away free used toys such as Listia and OfferUp.
Another way to donate toys is to just post what you have on your own personal Facebook page. Friends and family reading your post may know of people in need who will want the toys, or of local charities that will take them.
Preparing Toys to Donate
Each organization that takes donated toys has guidelines for what types of items are accepted. Most request that donations are in good condition and proper working order, simply because they don't have the resources to repair broken items.
Many organizations are hesitant to accept used stuffed animals because of concerns about the potential for transferring germs. It is always best to call ahead to inquire about if they take these types of toys before dropping them off.
Verify the Organization Accepts Used Toys
Before dropping off secondhand toys at a nonprofit organization, call to verify that the agency accepts and needs the types of items you want to give. If the organization you contact isn't able to utilize what you want to donate, the person you speak with will likely be able to refer you to another charitable group that could use the items you have.