Stuffed animals make soothing companions for young children. These cuddly creatures are accepted by most charities. If you would like to donate stuffed animals to kids in need, here’s what you can do.
- Give to Toys for Tots. If the toy is new in its original packaging, why not help the charity Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. Every year during the fall, this organization collects toys to give to needy children during Christmas. Various drop boxes are located at Toys ‘R’ Us stores in various cities across North America. If you would like more information on how to donate to this charity, go to the website at toysfortots.org. If you have new stuffed toys you want to donate, you may also support Cradles to Crayons, another non-profit organization that gives stuffed animals to children from low income and disadvantaged homes.
- Clean up the toys. If you’re not giving brand new toys, you can still find new homes for that stuffed animal. First, you must clean the toys. Check the overall condition of the toy. Make sure there are no loose parts, such as a button nose that needs to be re-sewn or any other parts that can be swallowed. Wipe the fur with a damp cloth. You may want to wash the toys in mild detergent and cold water. To sanitize the toys, you can either place it in an airtight bag and leave inside the freezer to kill the germs. Another method is to place it in the dryer with a dryer sheet to bring back the softness of the fur.
- Give to SAFE. Stuffed Animals for Emergencies is an organization started in 1997 that distributes stuffed toys to charities that provide assistance to children. Donations are passed on to various hospitals, homeless shelters, children’s shelters and other groups that offer services to children. To donate a stuffed toy to SAFE, contact a volunteer or chapter in your area. Go to their website at stuffedanimalsforemergencies.org for the nearest volunteer in your area.
- Find other charities that collect stuffed toys for children. Aside from SAFE, there are many other noteworthy organizations that help children. You may do a Google search on the Internet for a list and links to the different websites. Try AdoptaPlatoon, Loving Hugs Inc., Project Smile and Project Night Night. If you have a collection of Beanie Babies, why not pass it on to Beanies for Baghdad? Collected beanies are given away by American troops to Afghan children as Christmas presents and to foster goodwill.
- Give to the Salvation Army or the Goodwill. These two organizations accept various items to be resold to raise funds for various community outreach projects. Stuffed toys in good condition are always welcome. Find a local drop off site near your area.
- Give to a local orphanage or shelter. Is there a daycare that can benefit from those stuffed toys? Do you know of a local orphanage, children’s hospital or shelter for women and children? If there’s one in your city, support it. Bring your donations in directly.
It’s easy to help a child in need and bring a smile to his face. Give
stuffed toy animals to brighten a child’s day. Bring your children along
when you make the drop off donation, so it can be a moment to learn
about sharing and the joy of giving.