Where to Donate Toys
Don’t toss those old toys in the garbage bin. Instead, discover all the places where you can donate toys.
If you’re a parent, you know how quickly toys can accumulate in your house. Whether it’s right after the holidays or you simply need to declutter, you might be looking for a way to get rid of the toys your children no longer play with.
Fortunately, there’s a simple and eco-friendly solution to get rid of old toys: donate them! When you donate toys, you’re keeping them out of the landfill and giving other children a chance to enjoy them.
This extensive list will give you plenty of ideas of what to do with old toys your children don’t play with anymore.
1. Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is one of the largest charities in the world, and they help out with humanitarian aid and disaster relief. When you donate toys to the Salvation Army Family Stores, the organization will use the proceeds to fund rehabilitation programs.
You can either drop off your toys or schedule a free pick-up at your home. However, you should always check to make sure your local store is currently accepting toy donations.
Goodwill provides job placement services, employment training, and other programs to help people who have barriers that prevent them from getting a job through traditional means.
Similar to the Salvation Army, Goodwill has stores throughout the country where you can donate toys, and the proceeds help fund programs that benefit your community.
As always, when you’re ready to make a donation, it’s smart to call ahead to make sure the store can accept it.
3. Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots is a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve that distributes toys to needy children. While most people are familiar with the program because of the toy drives around the holidays that ask for new toys, many aren’t aware that the organization also accepts gently-used toys throughout the year.
When you have toys ready to give away, check out the Toys for Tots website to find your local chapter and learn how to donate your items.
4. Ronald McDonald House
The Ronald McDonald House provides families a place to stay while their little one is receiving care at a nearby hospital. Since the organization houses the entire family, it always needs toys to help entertain siblings.
If you have a local Ronald McDonald House in your area, contact them to see if they accept toy donations. Your children’s old toys could help other kids feel more at ease when they’re away from home and worried about a sibling.
5. Stuffed Animals for Emergencies
If you’re interested in donating stuffed animals, consider Stuffed Animals for Emergencies. This nonprofit organization gives stuffed animals to children who are going through traumatic or emotional situations, such as an ambulance ride or natural disaster.
In addition to new and gently used stuffed animals, the organization also accepts new and gently used books, blankets, children’s clothing, and baby items.
Some hospitals will accept toy donations for their waiting rooms or to give to young children to play with while they’re hospitalized.
However, before you stop by your local hospital with a box of toys to donate, make sure you contact them first. Some can only accept new toys because of the risk of infection or illness.
7. Doctor’s Offices
In addition to hospitals, you can also check with doctor’s offices around your community to see if they accept toy donations for their waiting rooms. Again, it’s important to check first since some offices will only accept new toys.
Many churches offer childcare services throughout the week and during church-related events. Since these services are typically low-cost or even free, they’re often in need of toys for the children to play with.
If you have a few churches in your area you think might accept a donation, you can contact the ministry coordinator to find out where you can drop off your box.
9. Military Support Groups
When military families have to relocate to a new base, not every toy is able to make the move. If you have a base in your area, contact its military family support group to see if you can donate toys.
Your donation could help a child transition to a new home easier. You can also visit Operation Homefront to learn more about the ways you can donate.
10. Vietnam Veterans of America
Vietnam Veterans of America is a nonprofit organization that supports the needs of all veterans across the country. The organization is funded without any assistance from the government, so it relies completely on help from donations.
When you donate toys to Vietnam Veterans of America, you help the organization generate funds to take care of service men and women.
If you have a box of gently used toys you would like to donate, you can use Pickup Please to schedule a free pickup on the day that works best for you.
11. Daycare Centers
Daycare centers and preschools take care of numerous children, so they go through toys pretty fast. If you’re thinking about donating toys to a daycare center near you, call the center director first to find out if he or she can accept the donation. You should also find out if the center has any guidelines on how you need to prepare the toys before it takes them.
12. Second Chance Toys
The goal of Second Chance Toys is to keep plastic toys out of landfills and get them to children in need. Currently, the company only has a few drop-off locations in select metro areas around the country. However, if you can collect 50 or more gently used plastic toys, they can arrange a drop-off with a local organization.
13. Children’s Homes
Children’s homes are safe havens for abused and neglected children. Groups of children live together in children’s homes, so they’re always in need of toys.
Children’s homes also tend to have a range of ages living under one roof. Therefore, the more variety you have with your toy donation, the better.
A quick search will tell you if you have any children’s homes in your area. If so, you can contact the children’s home director to find out if the home accepts toy donations.
Although homeless shelters and women’s shelters are often overlooked when people consider where to make a donation, children regularly end up here as well. Children who arrive at shelters have often been through a traumatic experience, so having some toys to play with can help them feel more at ease.
You can find more information about your local shelters online. Homeless Shelter Directory can also help you find contact information for shelters in your area.
TerraCycle has an amazing number of recycling programs, including a partnership with Hasbro to recycle used toys and games. If you have Hasbro toys that are too damaged or broken to donate, this is an excellent option.
This free recycling program will accept all Hasbro toys and games, including electronic toys, board games, plush toys, and metal, plastic, and wood toys.
16. Resale Stores
You can also check with resale stores in your area to see if they accept toys. I have a children’s resale store in my city that deals with nothing but children’s clothing and toys.
Some resale stores will give you cash for your items. However, most stores, like the one I shop at in my area, will give you store credit. You can then use this store credit to buy other gently used items for your kids.
Not only will this save you money, but it’s also great for the environment since companies won’t have to create more new products.
17. Family and Friends
If you have family or friends with children who are younger or around the same age as your children, contact them to see if they would be interested in any of those toys you’re planning to donate.
Parents will often appreciate the opportunity to give their kids some new toys without having to spend any extra money.
Ready to Donate Toys?
When the toy box starts to overflow and it’s time to clean out toys your children no longer play with, don’t immediately throw them in the trash. Instead, you can donate toys to help reduce waste and give those toys a chance to make another child happy.
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