Happy New Year to you all! (or y’all as my southern friends would say!) What is it about January first that turns a switch and causes us to reflect, plan ahead, and clean out the clutter? I remember as soon as the new toys and gifts were opened, I had a desire to sift through the old ones and clean out out-grown or unused toys. Knowing that many parents will be involved in this same process in the next few weeks I wanted to suggest a few ideas on where to share your give-away pile.

  • Women’s crisis centers: Take gently used kids’ books to centers for women and children. Every child deserves their own library of books. If you live in the Fairfield, CT area, you might consider The Center for Women and Children in Bridgeport .
  • Teach for America teachers: My friend’s daughter discovered her love of teaching after majoring in business in college. She accepted her first teaching assignment in urban Charlotte, NC and found her room devoid of materials. I collect beginning readers for her second grade class as well as great picture books for her students to look at or for her to use as read-alouds. Check out who might be teaching in your area and adopt them, providing the materials that could spark the next reader!
  • Teenage parent groups: I have been involved with an exciting group called Young Lives that comes along side teen parents, supporting them with love, fun, diapers and friendship. They are always in need of clothing, toys and equipment since many of these girls have limited resources and some are in shelters.
  • Social workers: I have several social workers that I network with when parents give me outgrown toys and equipment. Call local agencies, tell them what you have to donate and see if there is a need.
  • Teachers in underprivileged areas: A friend’s daughter accepted her first teaching assignment in rural South Carolina. She also inherited a room with limited resources. Recently I learned that she has a “treasure chest” of prizes for kids who demonstrate good behavior. Gently used toys, art supplies or books would be welcome for her box of goodies.
This is a short list but once you find some resources that really appreciate and can use your toys and books, it will be a joy to share them and see them get a new life!
Let me know what resources you use to pass on your kids’ clothing, toys and books that have been helpful. Click on comments below.