Stuff, stuff, and, more stuff! Now that St. Nick has eaten the cookies and gone, kids are playing with all their new toys and wearing their new shoes and clothing. So, what should you do with their old (but still good) stuff? Don't dump it! Donate it! Do Your Part and give your used toys, clothing and shoes a second life.
Begin by tackling the toy situation. Many of the toys children outgrow are still perfectly good. You can donate working toys, certain video game units and plush animals to your local homeless shelter, battered women's shelter or Salvation Army. It's always a good idea to check with the organization before donating toys. Each toy must pass Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines and recalls before it can be donated or sold. Due to massive toy recalls in recent years, some groups no longer accept used toys and many childrens' hospitals and care facilities only accept brand new toys.
Did St. Nick deliver a new bicycle this year? You must remember the joy you felt when you got your first bike. Now, imagine giving that same feeling to a child in need. You can donate your family's old bikes to many different organizations that will deliver them to those who need them the most. BikesForTykes.org
are good places to find out what's available in your community. Goodwill and Salvation Army will also accept bicycles and bicycle parts.
If grandma did your child in with new outfits, it's probably time to part with some of the items that no longer fit or that your child no longer wears. Goodwill and Salvation Army are both seeking additional gently used clothing items this year because donations have also suffered from the recession. Your child's hand-me-downs could quite simply help turn another person's life around. By taking your items to Goodwill you are funding employment and training programs that benefit over a million people every year. Donations taken to Salvation Army are recycled or sold through Family Stores with all proceeds funding operations at 119 Adult Rehabilitation Centers in the United States.
And, don't forget about the shoes. We all know how fast kids will outgrow their shoes and that means that their old ones probably still have some life left in them. Thirty million children around the globe don't have shoes to put on their feet this year. So, instead of trashing your families shoes, donate them! Soles4Soles.org
collects shoes of all kinds and distributes them to children who desperately need them. And, don't toss out those athletic shoes that are too worn out to wear again. Nike's Reuse A Shoe
program will take them, grind them up, and create all sorts of things with them - everything from running tracks to tennis courts.
This season, as new items come into your home take the time to reduce, reuse or recycle the old ones. You'll Do Your Part to keep those items out of the landfill while providing a brighter year ahead for someone less fortunate.