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10 Places to Donate Used Toys Near Me

places to donate used toys near me

Do you have a large collection of dolls and games that your kids no longer play with? 

Children tend to grow out of their games and stuffed animals fairly quickly. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to throw them in the trash. There are sure to be children living close to you who would love to receive these items and is sure to put a smile on their faces. 

So, let’s take an in-depth look at 10 places to donate used toys near me and what is accepted. 

There is never a bad time to start giving!

Where To Donate Unwanted Toys?

You are sure to find that several local organizations will accept donated items for children. These are usually dedicated to helping people in need. They will either pass along the items directly to children or sell the items and use the proceeds to support them. 

Salvation Army 

The Salvation Army operates a chain of thrift stores in most locations throughout the United States. If you are cleaning out your closets, you can take any unwanted items to your local outlet. They accept stuffed animals, games, dolls, clothes, shoes, books, and even furniture.

You need to make sure that all items are in good condition and can be directly used by people in need. In many cases, they will be sold in thrift stores, and the proceeds will be used to help people. Groups that the Salvation Army focuses on include children from low-income families, veterans, and the elderly.

Clean and sort first…

Take the time to clean and sort your unwanted items before dropping them off at a thrift store. If you have large and heavy items, you may be able to arrange a free collection. It is best to call ahead and find out if this service is available in your area. 


This organization has been dedicated to helping people in need for more than a century. Goodwill typically sells unwanted items in thrift stores that are operated across the United States. The money that is raised is used to help raise the quality of life of people in the community.  

Like the Salvation Army, Goodwill accepts a wide range, including toys and games. It is a good idea to call ahead and make sure your donations are suitable. This saves volunteers from having to dispose of items that don’t make the grade. 


Stuffed Animals for Emergencies 

This charity is commonly known as SAFE and provides children with stuffed animals in emergencies. Children who have been a victim of a traumatic event often need a little extra comfort and support. This includes car accidents, house fires, and domestic violence. 

The SAFE guidelines for donations are as follows:

  • Only gently used stuffed animals are accepted.
  • Stuffed animals must be properly cleaned before donation.
  • New stuffed animals that still have the tags will not usually be accepted.

There is also a guide on the SAFE website outlining how gently used stuffed animals must be cleaned. Make sure you take the time to read the guidelines and follow the steps.

Vietnam Veterans of America 

This charitable organization collects unwanted items and resells them. The proceeds are used to help support and care for Vietnam Veterans. The organization accepts almost anything, as long as it can be given to people in need or sold.

Vietnam Veterans of America boasts dozens of locations across the United States. You can take your unwanted items to your closest location. It may also be possible to arrange to have large and heavy items collected by a member of the organization. 

Second Chance Toys 

If you live in the states of New Jersey, Northern Virginia, Philadelphia, or New York, reach out to this organization. Second Chance Toys is dedicated to giving toys to children living at or below the poverty line. This helps to keep unwanted toys out of landfills and instead uses them to help children learn and develop motor skills.

If you have fifty or more items to give away, you can also arrange a free collection. However, it is important to note that Second Chance Toys has very strict guidelines. These ensure that the items provided are suitable for the children that receive them. 

second chance toys

The organization’s guidelines are as follows:

  • Only plastic toys are accepted.
  • All parts and batteries must be included.
  • No broken or cracked items.


Most children feel particularly vulnerable when they have to spend time in the hospital. Children who are suffering from long-term illness are sure to appreciate a stuffed toy or a game to play. This can help to take their mind off their illness and brighten their day a little. 

You can reach out to your local hospital and find out which items are suitable for donation. Bear in mind that hospitals operate under very strict hygiene protocols. This means that the items you provide will have to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected in advance. 

Children’s homes

A large number of children stay in these homes at some point in their lives. This could be because they have been abandoned, their parents have died, or their parents are in jail. These children often feel particularly vulnerable, and receiving donated toys can help lift their spirits.

You are sure to find that there is at least one children’s home in your area. These facilities usually have very limited budgets and rely on donations to meet the basic needs of their wards. This includes clothes, stuffed animals, dolls, games, writing materials, and anything that will help the children.

Have a little visit too…

It is best to reach out to your local children’s home and find out what they need. Try and visit in person when bringing your unwanted items and spend a little time with them. Make sure you include something for each age group so that they don’t feel left out. 

Children’s homes

Homeless shelters

Around one in five homeless people in the United States are children. In addition to needing somewhere to sleep and food, children need extra comfort. Receiving used stuffed animals and games can help improve their quality of life.

Anything that you can give is sure to be gratefully accepted. There is a particular need for clothes and shoes as well as things for children to play with. It is a good idea to stop by your local homeless shelter and learn about suitable donations. 

Daycare centers

Most daycare centers have a lot of children that they need to care for and keep entertained. If you live in an impoverished area, these centers may be grateful for games and dolls. You can reach out and see if they accept donations. Make sure you only provide items that are suitable for very young children. 

Places of worship

Most types of religious centers operate programs that are dedicated to helping members of the community. They assist low-income households to help raise their quality of life. In addition to donating money, members of the community are invited to give food, clothes, and other items.

Most religious centers regularly conduct drives where people can drop off unwanted items. However, you can also reach out at any time and see if donations are accepted. Make sure that what you give is appropriate and will not offend members of the religious group. 

The Steps To Take

While donating games and teddy bears is a great way to clear out closet space, there are things to bear in mind. Not everything you want to get rid of is going to be suitable for donation. You need to make sure the items will be truly appreciated and used by the people receiving them. 

The Steps To Take

Consider the needs of the children

Different items are more likely to be appropriate for certain types of children than others. When choosing an organization to donate to, it is a good idea to do a little research. Find out the types of people they are dedicated to helping and the types of donations they receive.

This will help to make sure that your donations reach the children they are most suitable for. If you have a teenager, you may have a lot of unwanted items for ten to twelve-year-olds. These are unlikely to be suitable for a daycare center. 

Carefully read the guidelines

Some donation centers are very strict about what can be donated and the condition. Most organizations are staffed by volunteers, who are charged with carefully inspecting donations. Dropping off items that don’t meet the guidelines causes more work for everyone involved. 

Be selective

Make sure what you give away is still usable and will be appreciated. You should not use donating as an excuse to avoid throwing things away. If the items cannot be used, they will still end up in the trash.

If a child receives a cracked or broken doll, they are sure to feel very disappointed. This is likely to feel much worse than receiving nothing at all. When deciding whether certain items can be donated, think about if you would want your child to receive them. 

Be selective

Separate items by age group

Although this isn’t essential, it will help make sure the toys reach the right children. It will save organization volunteers a lot of time and trouble in the long run. This will help to ensure that each child receives something that they will truly appreciate. 


If you are donating stuffed animals, you need to make sure they look and smell fresh. If the stuffed animals are not filled with pellet stuffing, you can place them in a laundry bag in the washing machine. Use cold water and a gentle cycle, and air dry after cleaning.

You can hand wash plastic dolls and other items in warm water with a little mild dish soap. Place them on a towel to air dry after washing them thoroughly. Avoid using fragrant fabric softeners and detergents, because these cleaning products can irritate the skin of some children.

Choose the right time

Most children look forward to receiving presents around the holidays. Many local charities actively seek donations just before Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and other major holidays. Donating at these times can teach your child the value of giving and help make the holidays extra special.

Making A Difference!

If you’re donating, then you’ll be interested in What Time Does Salvation Army Close Open, or perhaps you want to make a difference and work there; if so, check out our in-depth guide to The Salvation Army Application. Alternatively, you might be on a low income and need to know How To Get A Donated Car From Goodwill Or the Salvation Army.

Working to make a difference is amazing, even if it is only part-time or on days off! So, we’ve also included our guide to the Goodwill Application, and if you’re still in school, How Old Do You Have To Be To Work At Goodwill, along with Does Goodwill Run Backgrounds Checks, in case you have a criminal record.

Final Thoughts

Donating unwanted items to people in need is a great way to contribute to society. You get the satisfaction of helping people without having to make a financial contribution. This is also a good way to declutter your home and free up some much-needed space.

However, you need to make sure the items you want to get rid of are suitable for donation and that they are clean and in good condition. Take the time to choose the best organization to donate to and read the set donation guidelines carefully.

Thank you for thinking of the children!

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