The holidays are fast approaching, which means it’s time to declutter your home to host family and to make room in your kiddo’s toy box for gifts from Santa and relatives. Getting rid of old toys can be a sentimental process, but we’ve found several places that these beloved treasures will find a wonderful new home with another happy child. Read on to see where to deliver your gently used toys to their second life at the following donation spots.


We all know about the popular donation sites: Goodwill, Amvets and Salvation Army, but there are several smaller local organizations with a huge need for toys and goods to help out San Diego children in need. Below are six that could use your support:

Passion 4 K.I.D.S. (Kids In Desperate Situations)
Passion 4 K.I.D.S. is a non-profit dedicated to helping underprivileged, handicapped and abused kids in the United States. Located in Encinitas, they are always looking for toys, books, clothes, groceries and more to help kids and families in emergency situations. They are happy to take “gently” used toys, providing they have all the pieces, as well as “gently” used clothes and shoes. All donations are handed out by them personally to local children in need.

1345 Encinitas Blvd., #736
Encinitas, CA
760-518-2780
Online: passionforkids.org

Father Joe’s Village
Father Joe’s Village provides meals and care to thousands of homeless people each day. They accept donations of used toys (along with many other used household goods) for their retail locations. By donating items to their thrift stores, people can support programs that help families overcome homelessness. You can find more details on their website about the logistics of dropping off used goods or scheduling a pick-up.

3350 E. St.
San Diego, CA
619-446-2100
Online: my.neighbor.org

photo: Miss Messie via Flickr

Christie’s Place
Christie’s Place is a nonprofit support center for women, children and families living with HIV/AIDS whose motto is “Love Grows Here.” They are the only organization in San Diego dedicated to serving women, children and families impacted by HIV/AIDS. The mission of Christie’s Place is to empower individuals whose lives have been impacted by HIV/AIDS to take charge of their own health and wellness, and by doing so, improve their quality of life as well as the quality of life of those family members surrounding them. 86%, of their clients are at or below the federal poverty line, so used toys before Christmas will provide great excitement and joy! Once a month, Christie’s Place sets up a backyard boutique on site to provide their clients a shopping experience with the donations they have received throughout a given month. This will be the perfect opportunity for families to find their perfect toy that was donated by a generous family.

2440 Third Ave.
San Diego, CA 92101
619-702-4186
Online: christiesplace.org

A.B. and Jessie Polinsky Children’s Center
The Polinsky Center is a non-profit operated by the County of San Diego and offers shelter to children whose parents are unable to care for them. Toys, clothing, games, DVDs and more are always welcome. Check out the Polinksy Wish List for more information and give them a call if you’re interested in donating.

9400 Ruffin Ct.
San Diego, CA
858-514-4606
Online: sandiegocounty.gov

Women’s Resource Center Thrift Store
Located in North County, the WRC provides support, counseling and shelter to women, men and kids who have been involved in domestic violence. Their thrift store raises money for center operations, but also gives clients a place to shop with designated “vouchers” as they try to rebuild their life. Donations are accepted Tues.-Sat. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

3385 Mission Ave.
Oceanside, CA
760-757-3500 x 149
Online: wrcsd.org/thrift-store

ADVERTISEMENT

San Diego Rescue Mission
Helping San Diego’s homeless and poor has been the goal of San Diego Rescue Mission for over 50 years. Donations go directly to those in need or are sold at one of their thrift stores. To donate, schedule a pick-up with their online donation form or drop the items off at one of four locations.

Four locations: Point Loma, Mission, North Park and National City
619-819-1793
Online: sdrescue.org

Friends of the UC San Diego International Center
This organization fosters international education and builds friendships, understanding and cooperation within the international community. They operate a resale shop on the campus of UC San Diego and are always looking for gently used items. Proceeds fund scholarships for international education. Donations are welcome at the shop from Tues.- Fri. from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

9500 Gilman Dr. (International Center)
La Jolla, CA
858-534-0731
Online: icenter.ucsd.edu

— Ginger Anderson & Beth Shea

RELATED STORIES:

Expert Home Organizing Tips From a Local Pro

Where to Volunteer With Your Kids in San Diego

25 Local Ways to Celebrate Random Acts of Kindness