Ready, set, purge! Get ahead of the game by donating your gently used toys to make room for the mountain of goodies that will make their way into your homes this holiday season. Whether you involve the kiddos in the chore or you sneak the loot out while they sleep, you’ll be making a difference not only to the organization of your house, but to Chicago families in need. Read on to find local organizations that will happily accept your generosity.

photo: FeeLoona via Pixabay

Share Our Spare
This non-profit started by 10 Chicago women with a desire to help mothers less fortunate than themselves provides families living in low-income and homeless situations with the essentials they need to thrive. They typically take baby gear, diapers and other necessities, but a complete list of accepted items is available on their website.

935 W. Chestnut St., River West
Online: shareourspare.org

Lurie’s Children’s Hospital
If your child receives a duplicate gift this Christmas, consider giving the extra to Lurie’s Children’s.  Due to health risks with their patients, they can only accept new, recently purchased toys and games for children of all ages. Have cause/effect toys, play medical kits, blocks, musical toys, peaceful aquariums, books, linking toys? These are all items on their toddler wishlist.

225 E. Chicago, Streeterville
Online: luriechildrens.org

photo: PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay

Cornerstone Community Outreach
Cornerstone has a long standing commitment to providing shelter and finding homes for families and individuals who are at the greatest risk of being excluded from necessary services. They take a very wide variety of things for their residents and neighbors in Uptown, 7 days a week. They’ll not only take your used toys but other things like cribs, winter coats, sleeping bags, mittens, maternity clothing, jeans, diapers, wipes, as well as toiletries like toothpaste, soap, shampoo and everyday necessitates. Check their website for a complete list.

4628 N. Clifton Ave., Uptown
Online: ccolife.org

Toy Box Connection
This option is perfect for those in the South suburbs and accepts all clean and working toys, especially legos, puzzles, games, video games/systems, sports equipment, bikes, trikes and infant toys. TBC supports a myriad of non-profits that need them the most, including battered women shelters, orphanages, cancer camps, the Ronald McDonald House and more. Drop offs are on Mondays and Wednesdays and the occasional Saturday. Check their website for details.

159th & LaGrange Rd., Orland Park
Online: toyboxconnection.com

photo: mentatdgt via Pexels

Bookfirst
While you’re cleaning out the toy bins, consider making a separate stack of kids books for the friendly folks at Booksfirst. Booksfirst is an organization made up of local families that collect books to start libraries in Chicago Public Schools that wouldn’t otherwise have them. These schools have at least 25% homeless students. They truly believe that every family, every child can make a difference in the life of another child, another family. This is a great way to get your kids involved. For drop off locations, click here.

—Christa Reed

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