8 Places to Donate Your Stuffed Animals

Do you keep adding new toys to your child's collection, wondering what to do with the old ones? As children grow, they gain new interests and talents, and stuffed animals that were once favorites are discarded like vegetables at a Christmas dinner. While you may be tempted to toss those old toys in the garbage, many children would be delighted to receive them. At the absolute least, you can help avoid additional landfills.

According to Medium, over 80% of all toys end up someplace in a garbage dump. Toys are abandoned for various reasons, the most common of which is because parents don't know what to do with them once their children have outgrown them.

The good news is there are plenty of places you can donate stuffed animals to.


Several charities will collect gently used toys to who you can donate stuffed animals to. For example, thrift-store groups such as Goodwill and The Salvation Army will resale toys in their stores and utilize the proceeds to support their humanitarian work. You might also donate to Gifts for Tots, a program administered by the United States Marine Corps Reserve that distributes donated toys to children in need. Toys for Tots organizes popular gift drives during the holidays, but they take gently used toys all year. Another charity that accepts new and relatively new toys for low-income families is Cradles to Crayons.

Social Groups

It might be difficult to find charities and groups that would take donations of lightly used stuffed animals, especially following the coronavirus outbreak - but that doesn't mean your child's old toys are headed for the landfill. If you can't locate a location to donate your toys, consider posting them on your local Buy Nothing Facebook group. You might also put the toys up for sale on Freecycle or Craigslist. As with any other charity, sanitize the toys before donating them.


Many hospitals and doctor's offices would welcome donated stuffed animals for their young patients to play with or keep children occupied in the waiting area. Keep in mind, though, that if you wish to give toys to your local children's hospital, they must be brand new. Because most hospitals have rigorous cleanliness standards, you must buy the item explicitly for donation (you need to contact your local hospital for specific requirements). Check out Mount Sinai's list of the most desired toys to get a feel of the most desired things.

Children's Shelters and Homes

If you contribute stuffed animals to a local children's home or shelter, they will undoubtedly be played with. Contact the local children's home director to find out where and how your gifts will be most beneficial. Your local social services agency may also be able to point you in the direction of children in foster care and other youngsters in need who would welcome lightly worn toys.

Nursery and Daycare Centers

Nurseries and daycare centers go through stuffed animals incredibly quickly. If you have some to donate, there is every chance they can give them a second life.


The pastor of your local church may be aware of families in need of new toys. Otherwise, the church may want the toys to keep youngsters entertained during Sunday school, worship, or other community events. For further information, contact the church's children's ministry coordinator.

Emergency Departments

To calm children at the sites of traumatic events, police officers and firefighters frequently bring stuffed animals and other tiny toys with them. Their supply of toys is sometimes dependent on donations. Check with your local police and fire agencies to see whether they are collecting donations. Stuffed Animals for Emergencies (SAFE) is a simple method to contribute toys to this cause. This group takes gently used stuffed animals, blankets, books, children's clothing, and baby things. It matches them with organizations in the region that may use donations for children in emotional distress.

Recycling Program

If the stuffed animals you want to get rid of are filthy, ripped, or otherwise in poor condition, recycling them may be your best option. You may call your local recycling agency to see whether they accept toys (they don't necessarily! ), or you can look into TerraCycle. TerraCycle has partnered with Hasbro to recycle unwanted toys - it's free and simple! You send in your toys, and they disassemble them into raw materials to recycle them. 


There are plenty of places you can donate stuffed animals to. Primarily, your options depend on the condition of the toys and whether the organization is willing to accept donations at the time of asking. The key takeaway is to remember there is always someone else who can love your unwanted stuffed animals. Before throwing them away, research how you can donate them to a new home.


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