Before you know it, the mother of all holidays will descend upon us (yes, we’re talking Christmas). You don’t have to celebrate the holiday to feel the deluge of toys that comes with Dec. 25th. It’s time to declutter before the onslaught of new plastic and, the best part, your old junk could be somebody else’s new-found treasure. The following non-profit DC organizations give your old toys a second life. Read on for 13 amazing charities that will be filled with Christmas-like joy over your discarded knick-knacks.
photo: Kaboompics via Pexels
A Wider Circle provides basic need items to families transitioning out of homelessness or leaving domestic abuse situations. Have baby essentials you want to get out of your house? A Wider Circle accepts strollers, highchairs, changing tables, Pack ‘n Plays, car seats, infant and toddler clothing, and cribs. Your donation could greatly improve the living conditions of our region’s most vulnerable families. Their goal is to help families start anew with dignity and hope.
GreenDrop converts donated items to funds for families in need. They have been selected by various organizations including the American Red Cross, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the National Federation of the Blind and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Philadelphia, to raise funds through the generation and collection of donated items. GreenDrop accepts all articles of clothing, shoes, blankets and bedding, as well as tools, collectibles, kitchenware, toys, small appliances, electronics, musical instruments and sporting goods.
Various Drop-Off Locations around MD and VA or schedule a pick-up
photo: Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash
Second Chance Toys
Second Chance Toys is a nonprofit that rescues and recycles plastic toys for children in need by donating them to community organizations. When “good-as-new” toys are thrown out, they become waste in a landfill, take up a lot of space, and do not biodegrade. Second Chance Toys provides a waste-need solution to these problems. They collect unwanted plastic toys and donate them to organizations that care for children in need. Not only will you be helping to keep plastic toys out of landfills but you will also be giving them to disadvantaged children. Their Washington area donation site is near Dulles. Just think all those thousands of Legos and toy trucks in your house can find a new and loving home!
13933 Willard Rd.
St. Alban’s Church
Opportunity knocks and it shops. St. Alban’s Church located on Wisconsin Avenue is home to the Opportunity Shop, a place where tiny tots can send their toys and books. Drop off is right off the rear door of the rectory driveway with donation hours being easy on the preschool set (Tue.-Sat., 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.).
3001 Wisconsin Ave. NW
photo: Brooklyn Music School
Got a violin, guitar or clarinet taking up space in your little one’s closet? Are you about to be plastered by paint from an overflowing art room? Christ House has the answer! They accept used instruments, CDs and art supplies for the Kairos program. Tame that craft closet or music room with your next donation.
1717 Columbia Rd. NW
Black Student Fund
If you plan on packing up office and school supplies to donate this season, then consider asking junior to donate some of his toys, too. The Black Student Fund accepts all three types of donations all year long, so crack down on cleaning and get ready to make someone else’s day.
Partners for Kids in Care
Donations from the generous D.C. community allows Partners for Kids in Care to provide much-needed items and educational experiences to children and youth in foster care and at-risk families in D.C.’s welfare system. They have various donating opportunities:
In late summer,, your gift of school supplies helps kids in care get ready to learn—or equip an older youth for college with a computer, linens, and other necessities. Food baskets for families, toys, electronics, and gift cards are welcome in time for the winter holidays.
Children’s Donation Center
Families will make good use of your gift of new or gently-used clothing, infant supplies, sleeping bags, bed and bath linens, books, games and toys.
200 I St. SE
Police & Fire Departments
When an accident happens first responders are there. When a kiddo needs comfort your kiddos gently-used stuffed friend can help. Donate stuffed toys of all kinds to your local police and fire department. The items are given to small ones after accidents and fires.
Contact your local police and fire department for information.
The Children’s National Medical Center
This popular hospital keeps its “Dr. Bear’s Toy Closet” stocked with toys and games for young visitors. Gather up all of your gently used kid-friendly gadgets and gizmos for donation—kids play with the loot while they (or their parents) are receiving medical services. Some of the hottest playthings include rattles, board books, bubbles and the card game UNO (of course, UNO!).
111 Michigan Ave. NW
The National Center for Children and Families
Pack up all of those craft supplies, kids costumes and dress up clothes and bring them over to the National Center for Children and Families, an organization that works to provide love, structure and education with those in need. Share the gift of giving with your little one and maybe even invite them to pick out one item that they’d like to share with a friend in need.
1438 Rhode Island Ave. NE
photo: Baby Boomer Bikes and Beans
Bikes for the World
Lets think about the tricycles and bikes that may be crowding your hallway or tiny garage. A great organization that can help you to get rid of some of those bikes is Bikes for the World. Bikes for the World is a nonprofit humanitarian organization and volunteer network that collects thousands of used bicycles, as well as bike parts and tools, and delivers them to community programs in developing countries. So get to pedaling over to the Bikes for the World Warehouse. You can donate at anytime to any participating bike shop or find out when the local warehouse (address below) is hosting a bike drive.
1420 S. Eads Ave.
Does your tiny human have multiple DVDS, CDs, books and toys? Enter Interfaith Works, a nonprofit that’s working together to meet the needs of the poor and homeless in Montgomery County, Maryland. Round up the fam and get a head start on spring cleaning! Visit the webite to find out what other supplies the organization is in need of.
114 W Montgomery Ave.
Head Start is a federal program that promotes the school readiness of children from birth to 5 years old who come from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social and emotional development. It also happens to be a great place to donate the toys—books, puzzles, games, and more—that your child has forgotten (or will soon forget in the coming months).
—Meghan Yudes Meyers with Guiomar Ochoa and Victoria Mason