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Toys for Tots Drop-Off Locations in NJ and Other Ways to Donate
1. Toys for Tots – Locations Throughout New Jersey
Toys for Tots is probably the most well-known of the holiday toy drives, delivering gifts and hope to children who are less fortunate. There are several ways to donate. You can either drop off your donation at a toy drop location or visit the Virtual Toy Box and pick a toy to donate. Monetary donations are also welcome. The organization is also looking for additional locations for toy drop sites if you have a business and are interested.
If you need help: Toy applications are accepted and managed by your local Toys for Tot office. Click here to find a campaign in your community.
Last year, the AmeriCorp “elves” at New Jersey Community & Development Corporation in Paterson collected more than 6,000 toys for more than 1,400 Paterson children. Make this holiday season better and brighter by dropping off new, unwrapped toys at NJCDC’s headquarters. You can also buy toys directly from the Amazon Wish List or Target Wish List, or make a monetary donation toward purchasing toys and gift cards. Donations are collected through mid-December and distributed at the organization’s annual holiday party.
If you need help: Contact the NJCDC to register your child for the annual toy distribution.
RELATED: Top Holiday Activities and Christmas Events in New Jersey
Fulfill a child's wish with Operation Santa. Photo courtesy of USPS
3. USPS Operation Santa – Local Post Offices Throughout New Jersey
Every year children from across the country put pen to paper and write out a hopeful list of possible presents. While many of these would-be gifts end up under the Christmas tree, many go unanswered. Visit the USPS Operation Santa website and browse letters from hopeful children. Choose a letter to adopt (or a few), fill out the wishlist, wrap the gifts, and bring them (plus the necessary postage) to a participating post office by Monday, December 18, 2023, so kids can receive them by Christmas. Letter adoption starts Monday, November 20, 2023.
If you need help: Santa is now accepting letters at the North Pole. Letters must be postmarked before or on Monday, December 11, 2023, to qualify for Operation Santa.
Fulfill the exact holiday gift wish of a child or struggling family. Scan the available profiles online and purchase the wish list toy. That single, specially chosen gift lets them know that someone in the community is thinking of them. Toys can be dropped off Monday, December 4-Thursday, December 7, 2023, at the First United Methodist Church in Hightstown. Gift card donations are also welcome.
If you need help: Register your child online or in person by Thursday, November 30, 2023. The earlier you sign up the better chance your child will receive a gift at the holiday party.
RELATED: Christmas Tree Farms in New Jersey
Stop by a Salvation Army Angel Tree to choose a gift from a child's wishlist. Photo courtesy of the Salvation Army
Beyond the iconic red kettles you see stationed outside of grocery stores this time of year, the Salvation Army also hosts one of the biggest toy drives in New Jersey, collecting 100,000 toys each year. Help the organization meet that goal by bringing your donations to your local Salvation Army location. A Walmart registry for toys is available online, as well as the option to make a monetary donation. Look for the Salvation Army’s Angel Trees at local businesses and retail stores. Simply select a tag from the tree and fulfill the holiday wishes on the tag.
If you need help: To apply for assistance for any of the Salvation Army's holiday programs, contact your local Salvation Army office for more details.
Brighten a family’s holiday season via Monmouth County’s Family & Children’s Services’ Operation Sleighbells. Sponsors and recipients remain anonymous to preserve the dignity of participating families. Monetary donations and gift cards are accepted and volunteers will then give families the gift cards in early December so they have time to buy their kids gifts for the holidays. When this article was written, deadlines for donations were not yet published for the 2023 season.
If you need help: Families in need must sign up in person. This year, sign-ups were held at the end of September. Details can be found here.
The Season of Hope Holiday Toy Drive collects new, unwrapped toys for distribution to children and teens in need throughout Sussex and Warren counties. Items can be dropped off at Project Self-Sufficiency in Newton, Monday-Thursday. Donations of gift wraps, ribbons, gift bags, and boxes are also accepted.
If you need help: Advanced registration is required to receive a toy, and you must be a resident of Sussex or Warren County to qualify. To register, call Project Self-Sufficiency at 973-940-3500.
This is not necessarily a toy drive for the holiday season, but RMHC provides resources for families when they need to travel or stay in the hospital for a child's medical needs. The organization is always looking for toys and books to occupy children and help families during stressful times. See the website for a list of desired new toys, including board games, stuffed animals, dolls, puzzles, and outdoor games.
If you need help: Contact the social services department at the hospital where your child is receiving treatment.
This organization is now accepting new toys and gift card donations through Monday, November 27, 2023, to help a child in need in Monmouth County. The drop-off location is in Shrewsbury on weekdays from 10am -2pm and Saturdays from 10am-noon. To see the list of gift suggestions by age group, go to the website.
If you need help: You must be a resident of Monmouth County to qualify. For information email email@example.com.
Ways to Donate Used Toys
10. Glad Dogs Nation – Burlington, Pennington, and Robbinsville
This organization accepts gently used kid stuffed animals as well as dog toys, which are then distributed to shelters and rescue organizations across the country. If there is no location near you, see the website to ship your toys or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out if the organization can set up a pick-up near you.
The mission of Second Chance Toys is to keep plastic out of landfills. The organization estimates it has already saved more than 1.5 million pounds of plastic from ending up in landfills. Second Chance Toys donates toys twice a year, in December for the holiday season and again in early April for Earth Week. To find a drop-off location near you, check the website here. If you are part of an environmental organization or just want to help the cause, request a Getting Started Kit and set up a drop-off location or collect used toys to donate.
If you need help: Fill out a toy recipient registration form.