The best places to donate stuffed animals

Recycle stuffed animals for kids in need

From the time our kids are born, stuffed animals seem to multiply in our homes. Many people love to give them as presents, kids love to pick them out as favorite companions and many parents just can't resist adding one more cute and cuddly toy to their child's collection. And before you know it, your home is overrun with furry creatures, and it becomes time to send some of them packing. But what can you do with all of these stuffed animals?

Don't get rid of stuffed animals by throwing them away, unless they're hopelessly worn; this creates unnecessary landfill waste and deprives them of a second life with children who could really use them. Instead, donate your stuffed animals to one of the organizations listed below. Your unwanted toys can bring joy to children who need it during difficult times in their lives. So while you're helping yourself by clearing out clutter, you're helping others, too.

Stuffed Animals for Emergencies (SAFE)

Everyday, children are caught in emotional, traumatic and transitional situations which require extra comfort and care. SAFE exists to provide them with a special object to calm them during these times. You can donate new and gently used stuffed animals, toys, books and blankets, which will help children get through tough times. These objects are given to hospitals, shelters, and other emergency organizations which work directly with children.

Project Night Night

Children in homeless shelters need some extra comfort and support, and Project Night Night delivers this to them. Each child receives a security blanket, stuffed animal and age-appropriate book so that they leave the shelter with special objects that can bring them comfort and help them learn during a difficult time. The project accepts new and like-new stuffed animals, books and blankets. You can check their requirements here.

Donation Town

If you have new or gently-used stuffed animals and aren't sure which charities in your area will accept them, check with Donation Town. They can help you connect with over seven charities in your area and will even pick up your donation free of charge. Simply click the link above, check the requirements in your area, and schedule a free pickup.

Local Police or Fire Department

Many local law enforcement agencies will take donations of new and gently used stuffed animals to calm children in times of crisis. Check with your local departments to see if they accept donations. If so, consider organizing a larger donation through your church, school or other community organization to help many scared kids in your area.

Local Homeless and Women's Shelters

Shelters that house women and children try to provide as much comfort and support as possible in this transitional time. Many will accept new and gently used stuffed animals to hand out to children who pass through their doors. These stuffed animal donations will provide children who have lost everything with something to call their own that will help calm them. Being in a shelter can be a scary and unsettling experience for a child, so having something like a stuffed animal to cuddle can bring some extra comfort.

Recycle Your Stuffed Animals

If your stuffed animals are too worn, dusty or stained to donate, recycle them instead of throwing them in the trash to take up space in a landfill. Check with your local recycling center to see if they accept textiles for recycling. You can also make something new out of your old stuffed animals such as: a bean bag chair, blanket or quilt, doll clothes, or even a new and different stuffed animal.

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