As a parent one of the things that I’ve come to enjoy most about Christmas is the purging that comes after. In order to find room for all our new toys we clear out the old, unwanted and just plain annoying toys. In clearing out our old clutter I just can’t help but think of kids who don’t have as much as we do. Like most people who donate we tend to box things up and drop them in one of many donation boxes around our city. However I know that new lead laws have made it harder for some thrift stores to resell toy items and I’m not sure it’s the best way to give back. Some charities and thrift stores like the Salvation Army won’t even accept used toys anymore. The problem is every toy on the shelves needs to be lead free which takes time and money to figure out which toys are and which toys aren’t. Any toy made and sold on store shelves after 2009 will be lead free in accordance with the lead laws. Even if you know your toys are lead free the stores reselling them have to be sure. So I did a little thinking and a little research and came up with a list of places you might be able to donate your unbroken and gently used toys.

(1) Homeless Shelters (2) Women’s Shelters (3) Churches, Synagogues, Mosques (4) Daycares (5) Hospitals (6) Doctors Offices (7) Police Departments (8) Fire Departments (9) Social Services (10) Children’s Homes

I also found a great website with a database you can log in and find a place near you to donate your used toys. Donation Town will also arrange for pick up at your house.

SO I propose the first week in January should be National Donate a Toy Week. Don’t feel guilty. Just do it! I know we’re going to start by asking friends and our favorite daycare providers if they need any of the toys we’re ready to let go of.