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


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?

Before you start rummaging through bags and boxes looking for that gift receipt Aunt Hariet definitely didn’t include, consider instead donating your less-than-cherished holiday 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 shopping centers and local events. What’s not a no-brainer? The toys typically donated. Often overlooked, however, are gifts appropriate for older children, especially pre-teens and teens. Sporting equipment, backpacks, electronics, even cosmetics 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 have to supplement with cash donations, and that lets the organization spread its dollars further.


We’ve previously mentioned the donation chain’s first Westchester location in White Plains. The drop-off center accepts worn and unworn clothing, shoes, electronics, and even housewares, much like a Goodwill center. Like Goodwill, GreenDrop then sells the items, but unlike the for-profit alternative, 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, and St. Vincent de Paul. Donations are receipted and tax-deductible, and directly benefit others in need.

Green Tree Textiles

Giambra | Fotolia

Sometimes clothes are 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 your 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 and most U.S. communities in fact 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 Green Tree’s “Green Box” locations, or find them at local farmers’ markets in Ossining, Larchmont, and Tarrytown-Sleepy Hollow.

Phones, Tablets, and Other Electronics

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 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, and uses the funds to buy international calling cards for deployed service members. The much-honored service allows military personnel to stay in contact with their families while overseas, 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.


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