Where to Donate Stuffed Animals and Other Toys

Stuffed animals and toys can hold a special place in our hearts. As children, they provide comfort and entertainment. As adults, they may remind us of cherished memories from our youth. But as time goes on, many of us accumulate more stuffed animals and toys than we need. Rather than relegating these beloved creatures to the back of the closet or the dumpster, consider donating them so other children can enjoy them. There are many worthwhile organizations that accept toy donations.

Local Shelters and Charities

One of the easiest ways to donate stuffed animals and toys is to look locally. Many shelters, charities, and organizations in your own community likely accept toy and stuffed animal donations:

Animal Shelters

Animal shelters often have programs where children can pick out a stuffed animal after adopting a pet. The stuffed animal provides comfort as the child bonds with their new furry friend. Consider calling local animal shelters and rescue organizations to see if they accept stuffed animal and toy donations.

Domestic Violence Shelters

Children staying in domestic violence shelters often arrive with very few belongings. Donating new or gently used stuffed animals and toys brings a bit of joy and comfort. Domestic violence shelters and women’s shelters are a thoughtful place to donate plush toys.

Emergency Shelters

Family emergency shelters provide temporary housing for families and children in crisis situations. These children especially need comfort, which stuffed animals and toys can provide. Contact local emergency shelters to see if they accept donations of new or gently used stuffed animals and toys.

Foster Care Organizations

Children entering the foster care system often have very little to call their own. Most foster care services gladly accept donations of new or lightly used stuffed animals to bring comfort to foster children.

Children’s Hospitals

Many children’s hospitals have donation programs where kids can choose a donated stuffed animal to keep after treatment or surgery. Call your local children’s hospital to ask about their policies on donating plush toys. Some may only accept new toys for health reasons.

Homeless Shelters

Homeless shelters that house families often care for children who rarely get toys of their own. Donations of gently used stuffed animals and toys can make these children feel special. Call your local shelters to ask about their donation needs.

Local Drives

Keep an eye out for local donation drives that collect stuffed animals and toys for organizations. Schools, churches, and community groups often host toy drives around the holidays. Find out where you can drop off toy donations in your community.

National Charities

Several national charities collect toy donations for children in need across the country:

Toys for Tots

Run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Toys for Tots collects new toys, stuffed animals, and books for less fortunate children at Christmas. Local drop-off locations are set up in October and November. Find a drop-off point near you.


Goodwill accepts stuffed animal donations at local retail store locations and outlets. Avoid items that are dirty, damaged, or potentially hazardous. Call ahead to make sure your local Goodwill store accepts stuffed animal donations.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army collects new and gently used stuffed animals and toys year-round. Find a local drop-off center through their donation locator.

Stuffed Animals for Emergencies (S.A.F.E.)

S.A.F.E. donates stuffed animals to emergency professionals to give children during stressful situations. They accept donations of new plush toys up to 18 inches. Learn more about their donation programs.

Specialty Charities

The following charitable organizations specialize in collecting stuffed animal donations:

Teddy Bear Patrol

This organization donates teddy bears to children riding in police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks during emergencies. They accept new stuffed animal donations under 18 inches tall. Learn more and find drop-off locations.

Comfort Cases

Comfort Cases provides backpacks filled with essentials, including stuffed animals, to children in foster care. They accept new stuffed animal donations up to 18 inches tall. Donation details.

Ryan’s Case for Smiles

This nonprofit donates colorful crocheted and knitted stuffed animals to hospitals and hospice centers. You can donate handmade stuffed animals, blankets, and toys to support their mission. Learn more.

Project Linus

Volunteers for Project Linus create handmade blankets and stuffed animals for children dealing with serious illness or trauma. Donate new handmade blankies or stuffed toys to a local chapter. Find one near you.

Warm Up America

Warm Up America donates blankets and other handmade items to people in need all over the country. Make blankets, scarves, or stuffed animals and donate to a local program center. Get involved.

Where to Donate Based on Toy Type

Certain organizations only accept certain types of stuffed animals and toys. Here are some donation suggestions based on toy type:

Stuffed Animals

Gently used stuffed animals in good condition can go to most charities and shelters above. For health reasons, children’s hospitals and medical facilities often only accept new stuffed animals with tags.

Dolls and Action Figures

Boys & Girls Clubs, shelters, and underprivileged schools often accept donations of used dolls, action figures and their accessories, as long as they are in good shape.

Lego Sets

Donate unopened Lego sets or blocks through the LEGO Replay Program where they are sent to children’s nonprofits.

Puzzles and Games

Donate gently used complete board games, card games, and puzzles to schools, shelters, hospitals, and senior living facilities where families can enjoy them.

Art Supplies

Donate used crayons, markers, craft supplies and activity books to schools, daycares, shelters, hospitals, and children’s homes.

Baby Toys

Child development centers, family shelters, Early Head Start programs, and crisis nurseries often accept donations of gently used baby toys.

Building Sets

Boys & Girls Clubs, youth clubs, shelter playrooms, and school STEM programs often appreciate donations of used building sets and blocks like K’Nex, Lincoln Logs, and Magna-Tiles.

How to Prepare Toy Donations

Follow these tips to ensure your toy donations are ready for donation:

  • Only donate items that are clean, fully intact, and with all parts and pieces. Discard anything damaged or incomplete.
  • Machine wash stuffed animals and plush toys if visibly dirty. Air dry thoroughly.
  • Wipe hard toys clean with a disinfectant wipe or cloth dipped in a vinegar and water solution.
  • Place toys in bags or boxes so they stay together and don’t get lost.
  • Note details like age ratings, piece counts, and batteries required on the packages.
  • Contact the charity ahead of time to arrange a drop-off day and time.

Creative Ways to Donate Stuffed Animals

If local donation options are limited, consider these other ways to donate stuffed animals to children in need:

  • Host a donation drive. Set up stuffed animal donation boxes in your community. Promote the drive on social media and contact local media.
  • Set up a designated donation area. Place a permanent, well-labeled donation box in your business or organization’s lobby for ongoing community donations.
  • Partner with schools or youth groups. Work together on a stuffed animal drive and engage kids in giving to other kids.
  • Contact hospitals directly. Rather than general donations, arrange direct shipments of small stuffed animals to specific children’s hospitals.
  • Utilize online giving. Research reputable platforms that connect donors with verified charities all over.
  • Ship to distribution programs. Some larger nonprofits have systems to distribute donated stuffed animals both nationally and globally.
  • Sell or repurpose. Consider re-selling quality stuffed animals online or repurposing them into other useful items. Then donate the proceeds.

Questions and Answers

Here are some common questions and answers about donating stuffed animals and toys:

Where to Donate Stuffed Animals and Other Toys?

Some of the best places to donate gently used stuffed animals and toys are local shelters, children’s hospitals, foster care organizations, family resource centers, overseas charities, and special programs like Toys for Tots.

What Type of Stuffed Animals Can You Donate?

Most charities accept gently used stuffed animals up to 18 inches tall, as long as they are clean and in good condition. Children’s hospitals may only accept brand new toys. Inspect items carefully before donating.

Can You Donate Stuffed Animals to Goodwill?

Yes, most Goodwill locations accept stuffed animal donations, as long as the items are clean and in good condition. Contact your local store first to confirm their donation policies.

How Should You Clean Stuffed Animals Before Donation?

Gently wash well-loved stuffed animals in the washing machine using warm water and a mild detergent. Air dry fully before donating. For surface dirt, try spot cleaning with a disinfectant wipe.

Where Can I Donate Puzzles and Games?

Many shelters, hospitals, senior centers, doctor’s offices, schools, churches, and nonprofits accept donations of gently used puzzles, games, playing cards, and other family-friendly entertainment items.

Where Can I Donate Used Lego Sets?

Consider donating complete, disinfected Lego sets to the Lego Replay program, where they are distributed to children’s nonprofits around the country.


Donating used stuffed animals, toys, and games allows children in need to enjoy the comfort and developmental benefits of play. With so many worthy organizations supporting kids in hospitals, shelters, foster care, and vulnerable situations, your donation can make a real difference. Take inventory of beloved toys that can brighten a child’s day, and reach out to charities in your community and beyond. Together, we can share the joy and magic of childhood.