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Family Matters

Where to Donate Toys and Books This Season

Ready to clean out the playroom? Here's how to find a new home for gently used toys and books

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'Tis the season…to clean out the kids' toy boxes in order to make room for new loot. But what to do with gently used toys and books? Your local community group, children's hospital, or shelter is always a great choice. Here are six more options that also help those in need.   


Toys for Tots
This nonprofit run by the Marine Corps Reserve accepts toys and books for disadvantaged children up to age 12. Find your local toy drop location  here . Toys "R" Us also accepts new, unwrapped toys on behalf of the organization. Donations are accepted until late December; check with your local drop center for exact dates.

Stuffed Animals for Emergencies
Stuffed Animals for Emergencies (SAFE) is a nonprofit that collects stuffed toys, books, coloring books, crayons, blankets, children's clothes, and baby-related items to give to children during an emergency situation like a fire, illness, or homelessness. It currently has 15 chapters throughout the U.S. which will clean and distribute donated items to local fire and police departments, as well as homeless shelters. No location near you? They'll also accept items by mail.

Donation Town
Need a charity that will come to you? Donation Town connects you to a network of local charities that will pick up clothing, books, toys, and more. Type in your zip code to find charities in your area; donations are tax-deductible.  

Goodwill
Donating clothes and toys to your local Goodwill helps those who are trying to find jobs by funding career training, counseling, and other support services. Donations are sold in over 3,000 Goodwill stores around the country and at Shopgoodwill.com . This holiday season you can also pack up donations in a box from Amazon and other retailers and ship it for free to your nearest Goodwill. (You can even arrange a pick up.) Find details at GiveBackBox.com .    

Second Chance Toys
Second Chance Toys only accepts plastic toys in an effort to keep them out of landfills and place them in the hands of children in need. Drop-off locations exist throughout the northeast US. If you can gather 50 or more gently used plastic toys, the organization will arrange a drop-off location for you, and provide flyers and promotional items to aid in collection efforts.

Cradles to Crayons
This nonprofit aids children ages newborn to 12 in low-income and homeless situations by distributing care packages with a wide range of like-new items, including toys and books. (Baby board books are especially in demand.) Participation is limited to those in the Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago areas.