Finding Places to Donate (Gently Used) Toys to is Easier Than You Thought

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Now’s the perfect time to donate some toys to some kids and organizations in your area that could really use the help.  Do good, feel good.

Where to Donate Used Toys Locally 2023 - 2023

Just the fact that you’re thinking about this, means there’s hope for us all yet!  Whether you’re trying to make some room in your home for more toys prior to Christmas or are just looking to pass on some of the toys your kiddos haven’t used in a while – there are plenty of places (many right in your area) that you can donate to.  We’ll cut to the chase.  These are some of the most popular options:

Quick List: Where You Can Donate

Charities: Toys For Tots, Salvation Army, Cradles to Crayons.

First Responder Organizations:  Local Fire Department, Police Department, Hospital.

Homes + More:  Places of Worship, Shelters, Family Homes, Military Families.

From our research (and personal experience) most places are looking for gently used toys and games.  This basically means that, while your heart is in the right place, if you’re looking to get rid of toys that are broken or games that are missing pieces and/or are damaged they’d rather not take them.  It’s not that they don’t care, it’s just that many of these toys will go directly to the children and what kid would want something broken or missing the pieces?

If you’re just in need of getting rid of some old busted toys, you can always contact your local recycling facilities in your town to see if they’ll take them.  Or check out TerraCycle, the company that’s partnered with toy company Hasbro – where you’ll send your toys to them and they’ll get it all recycled (properly) for you.

So, if your toys are truly in decent shape here are all the places (and details) of where most people are sending them to…just be sure to properly clean them prior to donating!

1. Trusted National + Local Charities

There are a ton of charities out there and, quite honestly, it can be overwhelming. One of the most popular and trusted charities is  Toys For Tots .  They’re run by the US Marines and will provide toys directly to children in need – and they also have a pretty easy to use financial donation tool as well.

Another great options is  Cradles to Crayons .  They currently help server almost 250,000 poverty-level/low income children each and every year.  Not only can you donate your older toys, but other things that kids need to like warm coats, supplies, and everything in between.  You can also volunteer your time with their organization as well.

And you can always go with the tried and true  Salvation Army  (another personal favorite of ours).  They’re currently taking games and toys (including educational toys) for kids of all ages.  And, when you visit their site, you can search by your zip code to find the closest facility to where you live.  Most will allow you to just drive up and pop your trunk and someone will come out and remove your donations for you.

2. First Responder Organizations

You don’t necessarily have to look any further than your own backyard.  Typically your local  Fire Department  and  Police Department  will really appreciate any gently used toys and stuffed animals donated to them because they’ll usually provide them directly to kids who are impacted by tough (and often scary) situations like fires, break-ins, etc.  Sometimes that cute little stuffed animal is enough to bring them some comfort when they need it the most.  Just be sure to call them first to see if, due to the pandemic, they’re still able to accept donations.

3. Homes, Churches + Shelters

A lot of times, especially prior to Christmas, your  local church  would love to receive some toys for some of their less fortunate church/parish families.  Full disclosure, this usually consists of new toys, but sometimes depending on the situation some lightly used options will be acceptable or they could always use them internally for church programs like CCD, day-care, etc.  Just be sure to contact them prior to see what their up-to-date needs are.

Outside of churches and other places of worship, you usually can’t go wrong with contacting your town’s  social services department .  Ask for the director to see which programs they have coming up and what toy needs they may currently have.  A lot of times these can help directly with local shelters, children’s homes, women’s shelters, etc.  At times they can even let you know about specific families (ages and stages of their kids) to help you figure out what, specifically, the children may need.

At the end of the day, there really are plenty of opportunities to help those less fortunate and in need right around where you live.  It’s always the right time of year to help out!

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