Donated goods during the holidays don’t have to come with the tags still attached. Many charities are accepting good-as-new possessions this holiday season, including toys and clothing. And there’s likely no shortage of organizations that will take your items, regardless of where you live.
Some charities, like the Marine-run Toys for Tots Foundation (a 4-star charity, according to CharityNavigator.org), state that they will only take new toys. However, there are plenty of other well-regarded groups that solicit donations of ‘gently used’ toys and other household articles, at both the national and local levels.
Here are seven categories of organizations that accept such donations, and a way to discover even more of them in your neck of the woods.
Charitable organizations accepting ‘gently used’ toys and similar goods
Goodwill and the Salvation Army have store locations throughout the country and accept gently used toys, as well as other like-new goods. However, the inventory and needs of each store might vary from one location to the next, so be sure to check with your local affiliate before dropping off your items.
Regional or metropolitan charities
If you’re in or near a large population center, you’ll probably find an excellent charity to which you can donate your goods. In just the Northeast, for example, the organizations Second Chance Toys, Room to Grow and Cradles to Crayons accept gently used toys and children’s items. Seek out these kinds of charities in the city nearest you.
A report from last year found that child homelessness in the United States has surged to an all-time high, and homelessness continues to affect large numbers of women with children in general. Check with homeless shelters in your area to see if they will accept like-new toys. If you’re unaware of any shelters in the vicinity, visit the Homeless Shelter Directory to do a quick search.
YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs of America
About 71% of youth served by Boys & Girls Clubs are pre-teen. Additionally, the YMCA bills itself as ‘the nation’s largest not-for-profit provider of child care,’ serving more than 500,000 children across the country. Checking with the local branches of these organizations to see what their donation needs are this holiday season could lead to a charitable donation on your part.
Many church organizations provide daycare, as well as services to the needy in the community. They’re a recipient and distributor of donated items of all kinds — just check in advance to see how your gently-used possessions could help.
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Police departments, fire departments and paramedics not only protect families in their communities, but they can be a key source of comfort and stability amid an emergency. These organizations often will take gently-used toys to give to children during a crisis, like the scene of a fire or an ambulance ride.
It’s possible that a school system in your area could use some extra toys for their tots. Though it might not be a tax-deductible gift, it’s no less useful or appreciated to the supervisor that needs it.
Your local social services department can also point you in the right direction when donating. And if you’re looking for another charity idea, visit donationtown.org, which allows individuals to search ZIP codes for charities in their area and arrange a collection.