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Where to Donate Gifts, Toys, and Clothes This Holiday Season

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Don’t let that ugly Christmas sweater go to waste. Here’s where you can upcycle your unwanted garments, old tech, and gently used home goods in Westchester.

Everyone has received a not-so-great holiday present at some point. The thought is wonderful and appreciated but the execution is…less than stellar? Or maybe they knocked it out of the park and you’re ready to trade in that old smartphone or tablet now that you’ve got the latest model. Before you start rummaging through bags and boxes looking for a gift receipt or looking up the trade-in value on a beat-up old Xbox, consider instead donating your items to a worthy place — and no, we’re not talking the Island of Misfit Toys.

Toys for Tots

Courtesy Toys for Tots

Speaking of toys, this one is a relative no-brainer with plenty of brand awareness and drop-off locations at many local shopping centers and businesses. What’s not a no-brainer? The toys typically donated. Often overlooked are gifts appropriate for older children, especially pre-teens and teens. Sporting equipment, backpacks, electronics, even cosmetics, gift cards, and bath/spa gift baskets are welcome additions to the more plentiful presents suitable for younger children. The more of these that are collected even means fewer presents Toys for Tots has to supplement with cash donations, and that lets the organization spread its dollars even further.

GreenDrop

We covered the donation chain’s first Westchester location in White Plains a few years ago, and the brand has only become more popular since. The drop-off center accepts worn and unworn clothing, shoes, electronics, and even housewares, much like a Goodwill center. GreenDrop then sells the items to local consumers, and profits from your donations go directly to the charity of your choice: the American Red Cross, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the National Federation of the Blind, or St. Vincent de Paul. Donations are receipted and tax-deductible, and directly benefit others in need, so it’s a win-win.

Play It Forward

Photo courtesy of Colleen Turner

The recently opened boutique buys and collects your unwanted or outgrown children’s clothing and curates them into exclusive lines available on its website. Best of all? Not only does this allow you to make a little cash off your old kids’ clothes and gain access to some swanky new ones, but, for every purchase made on the PIF website, the team donates a bundle of clothing to a Westchester charity. It’s good for your wallet, your soul, and the environment! Click the link below to learn more and score a snazzy 15-percent-off coupon code.


Read More: Play It Forward With Westchester’s Eco-Chic Kids’ Clothing Company


Green Tree Textiles

Giambra | Fotolia

Sometimes clothes are just beyond saving. Maybe your favorite sweater is a fray away from reverting to a ball of yarn, or maybe you just don’t see yourself every wearing that pink bunny suit Aunt Clara sent you. Maybe you just need to clean out the closet to make room for all the wonderful new gifts you received! Only about 15 percent of textile waste is actually recycled, while as much as 11.5 million tons of the stuff can pile up in landfills over a single year — most U.S. communities don’t even have textile recycling programs. For the items you couldn’t otherwise donate, consider dropping off any used (or unusable) cloth at one of the Bronx-based company’s Westchester “Green Box” locations or find them in warmer months at local farmers’ markets like Ossining, Larchmont, and Tarrytown-Sleepy Hollow.

Cell Phones for Soldiers

This season, a whole lot of people are going to be excitedly unwrapping new tech and (rightfully) freaking out and screaming about it. Maybe you’ll be one of them. Maybe a video of you freaking out will go viral, allowing you to buy an even nicer phone with all the ad revenue you make from monetizing said video. In any event, rather than trading in your old phone now that you have that shiny new iGiga-PiXL with 7G BFG broad spectrum, how about donating it to a worthy charity?

Courtesy Cell Phones for Soldiers

Started by then-tween siblings Brittany and Robbie Bergquist in 2004, Cell Phones for Soldiers recycles or refurbishes all models and conditions of mobile phones, tablets, and MP3 players, then uses the funds to buy international calling cards for deployed service members overseas. The much-honored service allows military personnel to stay in contact with their families while without racking up thousands of dollars in phone bills. You can donate your old electronics by mail, or through most cellular providers, as many — including giants AT&T and Verizon — are program partners.