Donating & Recycling Toys
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Donating & Recycling Toys
Goodwill is no longer accpeting toy donations. Does anyone have a
recommendation of where I can donate used toys that my kids have outgrown?
Marin County is preferable, but Berkeley, El Cerrito, and parts of SF
would be OK too. I searched the archives, but much of the info seems
outdated and I can't find many of the organizations that were mentioned.
A tax-deductible organization is preferable as well, but not absolutely
Cleaning out the toy chest
I regularly donate used toys to the Childwatch center at the
downtown Berkeley YMCA. If they can't use them, they give them to
Headstart and other organizations. Also, sometimes pediatrician's
offices and dentist's offices need toys or books for the waiting
room. And finally, there are a lot of needy families out there.
If I have something nice, I often just list it for free on
Craig's List and if someone emails me to say they need it, I
leave it outside the house for them.
Bananas on claremont takes toys.
You might try Bananas (on Claremont Ave) in Oakland. I know they take some toys,
unused diapers, & kids clothes and work a lot in low income communities throughout
Oakland. You could call them or look them up on-line to check what they will & will
not take. Good Luck.....
Playland-Not-at-the-Beach is a non-profit Museum of Fun located
in El Cerrito, and we would greatly appreciate any donation of
new or gently used toys. Toys are used as prizes in our
Carnival Games Area. We are also always looking for extra large
stuffed animals and toys that are good for boys. Please call
before dropping of your donation to insure someone is available
to except it, though the Playland office is open seven days a
week. All donations are tax deductable and you will receive a
letter thanking you with the tax identification information.
You can find the address and phone number online at:
Freecycle.org! People will come to you and gladly take your used
toys off your hands. It's a wonderful resource.
Wondering if anyone has a lead on where I might donate a trunk
full of used toys. They are appropriate for infant thru about age
5 (before the holidays we had our boys go through the house and
bag up toys they don't play with much or have outgrown). None are
broken, some are like new, some have been lovingly used and show
wear, but have tons of use left in them. I tried the Bay Area
Rescue Mission and Richmond Perinatal Council--both only accept
new toys. I am hoping to find an agency or some kind of group
that serves children, or a daycare center. Maybe a hospital or
doctors office. Thanks for any tips!
I take my children's clothes and toys, in good condition, to Bananas
on Claremont in Oakland (www.bananasinc.org). Items are given
directly to low income families.
Although I'm not proud of it, we have accumulated oodles of toys from
fast food restaurants (mostly McDonalds, but others too). I only let
my kids open one of each kind, and, since we seem to eat at these
places in spurts, we end up with duplicates, all of which happen to be
new in their packages. I'm desperate to declutter. What do people do
with extra fast food toys they don't want/need?
I donate these to my kindergartener's class Prize Box. I'm
sure if you ask around you'll find a teacher who would love
these as little prizes to hand out.
Children's Hospital Oakland, at times, provides their patients
with ''bedside packs''. You and your children could put a
Happy Meal toy in a bag (large ziplock) along with paper,
crayons and stickers (or anything else) and donate the packages
to the hospital. I know the hospital would be happy to receive
these bedside packs as well as it would be fun for your
children to organize and donate these items.
Just one suggestion.
I believe people can actually sell this stuff on Ebay. Some
people find that stuff collectible! Go figure!
Lisa in Oakland
Donate to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. I'm sure there are
people out there that want that stuff.
Teachers at the local elementary school were grateful to take
the Happy Meal toys to add to the class ''treasure'' box for
rewards or the student store.
I don't know where you live, but at the El Cerrito recycling
center (on Schmidt) they have new plastics recycling bins where
they now take all plastic toys. When you drive into the center
there are big bins on the left past the Salvation Army donation
truck. Just a thought....
I suggest that you ask teachers at your children's school if
they could use the toys for incentives. My sister teaches
second grade and I know that she is always on the look-out for
such things. Her students get a sticker every day that they
turn in their ''homework'' or permission slips, etc. and at the
end of the week they can choose a ''prize'' for having so many
In addition to the very good suggestions about donating to schoolteachers
and hospitals who distribute these toys, here are more ideas
1. List these in the BPN Marketplace as giveaways - you will get MANY
responses from teachers or others who can put the toys to good use, and
they will pick up from you.
2. East Bay Depot for Creative Re-Use
- on Telegraph Ave, Oakland. Many
teachers and artists use this place as a source for materials.
3. Collect these and other small items in a basket, and at Halloween offer
the choice of a toy instead of or in addition to candy (it means waiting
'til October however, and also requires being in a high traffic trick or
daughter has been receiving an allowance, of which a third goes into a
''giving'' bank... I would love to take her to buy a new toy with it that
can be donated to a child or children that don't get many...I thought
maybe Children's Hospital or something of the like, but to my surprise I
have not had much luck finding any informantion...Any suggestions
There's always the classic Toys for Tots. See their website
http://www.toysfortots.org/ to search for a drop-off location
near you. I know the Coldwell Banker office in Montclair is one drop-off
place, if that's in your neck of the woods.
our school (lafayette elementary) is doing a toy drive through toys for tots.
we are collecting through dec 20. i would do an internet search for toys for
tots. on the radio, some stores and fire stations are collecting toys as
well. great idea. my son felt very proud of himself from 4 years on,
purchasing clothing and toys for families in need during the holidays. our
next step will be volunteering in some fashion. great job!
give as you can
The Toys for Tots program accepts donations and you can drop off toys in
Alameda or San Ramon. The following websites will give you more information.
There are probably other drop-off sites too, but I'm not sure where.
What a great idea- the giving bank. You can drop off unwrapped toys at
Berkeley or Contra Costa fire stations (I'm not sure if it's ALL Contra Costa
stations but I know at least all El Cerrito, Kensington, Richmond stations
are accepting donations). We did this which is especially nice if your kids
like an opportunity to visit the fire station as a reward for doing something
nice! I think Oakland is also having a Mayor's holiday toy drive but you
might want to check with them.
The last several years I have had fun buying toys at the after
thanksgiving sales for great prices, and then donating them to
The last two years, I google searched ''toy donations in
berkeley'' and found a volunteer website that puts together a
wishlist from local agencies for volunteer time and donations
for the holidays. I'd take that list, select ones nearby that
seemed appropriate, divide up my toys and have one day where I'd
drive around and drop off toys and feel really good about the
spirit of giving.
This year, I can't find the website, and I like to do different
places each year in order to spread the wealth. Anyone know of
any worthy local organizations looking for new unwrapped toys?
I'm not interested in doing ''toys for tots''. It's a great
cause, but they gets tons of press. Would prefer something a
little less publicized. Ones I've done in the past..Circle of
Care(Pediatricare), Women's Daytime Dropin Center, Jubilee West,
Harbor House, Adopt-a Special Kid and others I can't recall
I'd prefer the Berkeley area, but would drive a little for a
trying to play Santa for a day
I'm currently serving as the interim director of a therapeutic
preschool that serves children 2-6 years old who have
experienced trauma/neglect. We are always looking for donations
to support our families around the holidays or add a boost of
new toys for the children in the classrooms. Feel free to email
me if you are interested in learning more about our program.
stephmarshburn at yahoo.com
Hello: I am the program coordinator at CHAI, Children's
Hospital Autism Intervention. We provide comprehensive,
integrated services for young children, up to age 3, on the
autism spectrum. We would certainly make use of developmentally
based toys for young children. Unfortunately, our budget is
limited with regard to materials. There are, of course, many
needy programs and charities out there these days. Your
generosity toward any program is wonderful to see. Thank you.
Due to a large number of relatives, my toddler son receives more gifts of clothing and
toys than he can possibly use, particularly the toys. We have very little storage space
so rotating the toys is not practical even if we wanted him to own so many things.
Consequently I'm looking for a local family shelter or similar organization that does
good work and would consistently be able to put these extra things (many of them new) to
good use. Anyone have any recommendations? Thanks!
too much stuff
Here's an idea for a worthy cause. This is not a shelter, but there is an
organization at Children's Hospital Oakland called CHAI that could
probably put good use to any extra toddler toys in good shape. It is an
early intervention program for kids with Autism and related disorders.
They do home visits and have a center, so toys are sometimes spread pretty
thin. If you like this idea, you can call CHAI at (510) 428-3792. (Full
I used to work there, and resigned to be home with my baby.) Nora
If you're looking for local family shelters to donate children's clothes
and/or toys to, try going to the Berkeley Public Library's community I & R
database--The Berkeley Information Network (The BIN)--of local
organizations, services, meeting room, summer day camps, agencies, fairs &
festivals, sports clubs, schools, etc. You can search by name, subject, or
For your search start at the library's website:
choose 'Berkeley Information Network (The BIN)' from the library home page
Then just click on each listing which takes you to their BIN listing that
gives name of the organization/service/agency, website address as
available, contact info, a brief description, list of services, and other
I hope this helps you find a place to share your child's extra toys and
Thank you so much to everyone wh0 contacted me and donated items to
Books for the Barrios - I was overwhelmed by the response! And if I
didn't connect with you I'm very sorry, I received so many emails I
had trouble keeping track!
If anyone is interested in donating the following items to Books for
the Barrios, check out their website for information, they are located
in Concord: http://www.booksforthebarrios.com/F2nd_Y.html
* Games and Puzzles
* Toys, Stuffed Animals and Tennis Balls
* Athletic Equipment
* Crayons, Pencils and Scissors
* Clean Scrap Paper
* Children's Storybooks
* National Geographic Magazines
* Encyclopedias and Dictionaries
* Computers (Pentium III, or IV in working condition only)
* Monitors ($20 Donation Fee)
* Little Girls Dresses
thanks to all!
For my son's birthday, we are asking for wrapped toys and a can
of food to be donated to charity.
Now I'm looking for a worthy cause in the City of Richmond
(where my son's day care is located) to give these toys/cans of
food to. Any ideas?
Would like somewhere where they could make a bit of a deal over
the donation so that it would encourage a humanitarian spirit in
my young son. (Also, so I could take a picture of it to share
with all the party goers.)
Hi! I grew up in the Richmond Hills, and we often donated to
the Richmond Rescue Mission and helped out on Thanksgiving day
down there. It's been awhile, but I know my mother still
donates items to them. I believe they are on MacDonald Ave, and
can be found on the internet.
Try Richmond Rescue Mission on MacDonald. If you call them,
they will set up a time when you can bring donations. They have
a family homeless shelter and an after-school tutoring program,
among other programs. A good choice for donations. Check out
The Perinatal Council in Richmond accepts donations. They
serve needy families, including pregnant teens. They also run an
''adopt a family'' program at the holiday season.
www.theperinatalcouncil.org If you call ahead and ask them to
make a ''big deal'', they should comply.
I've looked in the archives, but not found anything, although I
sometimes see notices in marketplace for organizations looking
for ongoing donations (I meant to save them...).
Where do people donate kid's stuff? We have toys, puzzles, and
books which would be appropriate for anywhere children gather
to play or wait for their parents (or to give to kids for
personal use). It's nice stuff, and sturdy and not too many
pieces (thick floor puzzles, large plastic vehicles, etc). I'd
rather give it away, although it would be salable through
marketplace or resale shops.
I know about Sports4Kids for sports equipment.
Thank you for your advice!
I would imagine you'll get many suggestions for terrific
charities that need your toys and children's products. One
thing we do is donate our sons' toys, books and games to their
school classrooms. This way you get to give back a little to
the people who give so much to your kids. We recently gave some
barely touched and never used toys to Children's Hospital in
Oakland. I did this informally through one of my son's doctors.
She wrote a really lovely note back that the toys had gone on
to foster kids that are seen at the hospital. I told my kids
and they were thrilled! (Well, the two-year-old of course
didn't understand, but my four-year-old was very pleased!)
A few suggestions:
1. ECAP (in Emeryville, on San Pablo at 35th). They take
ANYTHING! They distribute it directly to needy families and
2. BANANAS (on Claremont near Telegraph). They love getting high
quality children's items that they distribute to home day-care
facilities (most of which operate on a very low budget) as well
as needy famlies.
3. Children's Hospital will accept the books for their Red Book
Cart program. Both inpatients and out-patients (in the waiting
areas) can read the books while in the hospital, and if they like
the book, they are welcome to keep it.
For the person looking for a place to donate toys and childrens'
stuff our school is holding a rummage sale Saturday, May 14 which
benefits curricular and other program at our public school. I
would be happy to arrange to pick up any toys, or kid's clothing,
etc if they can be easily carried in boxes, no large play
structures, cribs or car seats.
I'd like to recommend the Women's Daytime Drop-in Center at 2218 Acton St.,
Berkeley, 548-2884. It is a wonderful place that offers services for homeless women
and their kids. They can come during the day and get showers, meals, counseling,
and a supportive, warm place off the streets. They have managed to get some of
their clients into homes and jobs. Call them first and see if they can use your
kids' stuff. They recently added a kids' room onto the back (the center is just a
regular little house next to a city-run '' tot yard''), that is like a playroom/classroom.
For the information of anyone else who would like to donate to help the homeless: I
used to take all my old women's clothing to the WDDC. Now they refer clothing
donations to the Berkeley Ecumenical Chaplancy for the Homeless (another
wonderful service for the homeless in a church at Durant and Elsworth), but they
may still directly accept kids' clothing, I don't know.
You'll know that your donations are being well used by people who really need help!
What do you do with used toys? I have a 3 year old that can't get into his
room because of all the toys he has from us, presents, hand me downs,
etc. We don't have anyone to hand down to, is there somewhere or
something you give them to?
I am a member of the International MOMS Club Vallejo Chapter.
Our community service project this year has been to create the
Vallejo Toy and Resource Library to provide caregivers in the
area the opportunity to borrow toys and caregiving resources.
We are interested in donations of toys for children ages 0 to 5
years, children's books and videos, and books and videos related
to childbirth and caregiving. Donations are 100% tax
deductible. I would be happy to pick up any toys you wish to
donate and leave you with a receipt.
Bananas takes toy donations and will give you a receipt for your
taxes. I like to donate to them because they provide a tremendous
service for our community. Check out http://www.bananasinc.org/
for all they do and contact info.
YOu can give them away to goodwill, the salvation army, or list
them (for free or for sale) on the parents mailing list
marketplace newsletter or craigslist. You can also have a garage
There are probably dozens of children's charities that would love used
toys -- just look in the phone book. Places like Salvation Army and
Goodwill definitely sell kids' stuff, if there's a place like that you support.
Some other ideas: check with local daycares (including family
daycares) or preschools, try Habitot's toy lending library, or perhaps sell
the toys at a used-toy consignment store (there's one on College
Avenue near the Dreyer's Ice Cream store, but on the other side of the
street). Maybe Children's Hospital or local pediatricians' offices could
use them to entertain the kids while they wait for appointments. People
often leave outdoor toys that are in fairly good condition at Totland or
Willard Park (and probably other places as well), where they definitely
I'm donating our used toys and clothing to the Alameda County
Office of Education for Infants & Toddler's Program. It
services all of Alameda County, for children with disabilities.
The only thing they cannot accept is stuffed animals. I spoke
with Linda at (510) 782-3356. Their on-site nurse evaluates the
items and they are brought to the families at the home visits.
If any of the items cannot be used by their program, they are
given to the Cal Safe Program or the Teen Family Program. If
you have alot of items they will come and pick them up.
I called some of the other programs listed on the network
archives and many of them either were not taking toys at this
time or had discontinued taking toys.
Toy Go Round on Solano in Albany will ''recycle'' them for
you. It's a pretty good deal, you bring in your toys in good
shape with all the pieces and instructions if you have them
and they consign them for you. You have an account
number and when you have some credit, you can get some
more age appropriate, different, new/used toys.
Charities like Bay Area Rescue Mission, Good Will or CARH
(Community Assistance For The Retarded And
Handicapped) will also take them. Oh yea, Darla's on San
Pablo in El Cerrito will take those in good condition for store
Recently Purged Of Old Toys
Well, you can either sell them or give them away. If you want to
sell them, you could try listing them in the ''Marketplace''
section of this newsletter, holding a garage sale, or selling
them to a used-children's-stuff store (there are quite a few in
the Oakland/Berkeley area).
If you want to give them away, why not donate them (and get a
tax write-off) by finding a children's/homeless family shelter,
or just giving them to Goodwill, Salvation Army or St. Vincent
de Paul (again all in the Oakland/Berkeley area).
Undoubtedly you will receive MANY replies to your posting....
You can do many things with toys in one of two categories:
1. Making Money:
- Advertise on the Marketplace newsletter to sell them at
whatever price you want (the cheaper the faster of course).
- Have a yard sale.
- Sell to some of the used childrens' shops around here (like
Toy Go Round, or many of the used clothing shops - they also
often sell toys).
2. Not Making Money:
- Donate to shelters.
- Donate to daycare centers/preschools.
- Donate to hospitals.
- Advertise on Marketplace in the free section (sure to go like
- Place posters in your neighborhood childrens' park.
- Call Bananas and ask them, or your firestation and see if they
have a toys-for-tots kind of thing.
Etc, etc, etc.
Good for you for limiting the chaos in your house!
I'm sure you'll get lots of ideas. Here are a few:
Donate them to ECAP - they give everything directly to needy
families. They are located on San Pablo Ave, at 34th. Other
charities do this too, so ask around.
Donate some of them (carefully selected) to pre-schools, family
homeless shelters, hospital/doctor waiting rooms or places of
business that might like ''distractions'' for children of clients
(of course, ask first).
If stuff is interesting, but no longer complete, they might
take them at the Creative Reuse Depot.
If stuff in in good condition, and you'd like to get some money
for them, there's always the re-sale places (Toy-Go-Round on
Solano in Albany is great for this).
If you would like to donate used toys to a needy group I can
direct you to Mujeres Unidas y Activas: United and Active
Women. They are a peer support counseling and community
organizing project for Latina women facing domestic violence,
immigration harassment, etc. They provide free child care at
all their meetings but have very little in the ways of toys,
books, etc. Call me or email me to arrange a
donation. We are also looking for bookshelves and kids size
chairs/tables. Thanks in advance!
We just did a huge clean up in our house and got rid of tons of
toys. Here's where I gave them
-Bay Area Crisis Nursery-
-neighbor down the street
-little kids program at the church
-the daycare provider took some
Goodwill will also take the rest (stuffed animals for example are
virtually impossible to get rid of, in my experience).
Try checking with the local kindergarten too... They often want
sand toys or blocks or the like.
You can donate them to battered women's shelters or some other
organization that helps children. If you want different toys or
books to replace them there are some great used toy stores in
Alameda where you can trade them. Fashion After Passion is on
Webster St. and you can trade your toys for toys, kids clothes
or maternity clothes. They also have books and a great selection
of nursing bras. Any toys they don't take, they donate to a
place that low income people can go to get free stuff. Toy
Safari has a great selection of toys and books for trade, it's
on Park St.
You can drop children's toys and clothing off at BANANAS, a non-profit child care referral
and education center located at Claremont Ave in Oakland, close to the DMV and the 51st
For directions, more info, call 658-7353.
Regarding a place to donate "gently used" toys, a program I know of that is
always grateful for toy donations used or new, is The Alameda County Office
of Education Infant and Toddler Program. The program serves infants and
toddlers with disabilities. They have both a center based and home based
program. Many of the children and families in their program are very low
income. When toys are donated the staff distributes them to families whose
children do not have many (or any) toys available to them. If your toys seem
appropriate for this group (any are, as long as they are for children in that
age range) contact the Burke Development Center at 782-3356.
We recently donated a lot of childrens' clothes and toys to Bananas in
Oakland. Great organization doing great work. They didn't require the
clothes to be "cleaned", although we had washed them before storing them
away years ago.
Hi, I work at the Student Parent Project here at Cal, and if you
to donate toys and books in good condition to us, we'd love to take
off your hands! We are a campus support unit for students who are
combining academics (undergrad and grad) and parenting. Among the
things we do for student parents, is to maintain a room located at
Cesar Chavez Student Center for parents and their children. It has
couches, a changing table, a microwave, a refrigerator, computers (1
ea.--laptop and macintosh) and a play area with toys for the kids. A
of our toys are missing pieces or are just old! Sometimes, if a
just can't part with a toy, we let them take it with them, if they
to love the toy and be good to it! We don't provide child care here,
it is a place where parents can exchange child care or stop by
classes if they have their kids with them. I am certain that there
many wonderful charities and families that need the toys, but give me
call if you're interested in donating to us. Patti 643-5729
I would like to add a few donating places. I will briefly explain to
1) I am a member of the Black Staff and Faculty Organization on the
campus and we have a Christmas party every year the first weekend in
December, (13 years now). We invite over 150 children from the
(Centers or homes) and those that are under privilege that are unable
have a Christmas. We provide the kids with entertainment, music,
pictures with Santa, food, punch and pasteries and the end of the
they all go home with a brand new gift. The kids range in ages from
We have an annual Bowling Party in October as our fund raiser to
money for the party We would be very much interested in receiving
of new wrapped or unwrapped toys at anytime.
2) I am a member on the board of Supporting Future Growth Child
Development for preschools. We have eight sites thoughout the
one in Hayward and an infant care center in Oakland near Mills
centers are always interested in getting donations of toys/books for
The Jobs Consortium accepts toy donations in Oakland and Berkeley (510-251-6241).
They are a non profit which provides employment services (including resume
writing, literacy training, addiction counseling, etc.) to the homeless and
families on welfare. Their clients would love toys for their kids, especially at
To the parent who wanted suggestions as to where they can donate used
toys... My daughter's daycare, Laney Children Center, in Oakland is
in desparate need of toys, clothing, anything that can be spared. In
fact we (the Parents' Assoc.) are racking out brains with how to raise
funds to be able to buy at least one toy for each chi ld for
Chistmas. So if you would please call Linda Mitchell (Childcare
Director) at (510) 464-3574 and talk with her about how you could
help, she and I would be most appreciative. The Childcare Center is
located on Laney campus at 2000 Fallon Street.
Downtown Berkeley YMCA Childwatch The Downtown Berkeley Childwatch
Center is always interested in receiving donations of good used
toys. Please call Childwatch Director Eden O'Brien-Brenner at
848-9622 ext. 3038 to find out if the toys you wish to donate are
appropriate for the center.
Toys for Tots
Donate new unwrapped toys or money. You may wish to
involve your children in buying some new toys to give to others.
See toysfortots.org for
(Natasha, Dec 1998)
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