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3 Trucks Full of Toys!

Our volunteers at Fair Lawn Recycling Center in New Jersey collected 3 truck-loads of toys for the holidays from passionate donors in the surrounding towns. That is over 2,500 toys collected and donated around Bergen, Passaic, and Essex counties-- including 20 gorgeous and much sought after larger toys.

One of the family shelters in Paterson that had received part of the toy donation called us to say thank you;

“You donate toys to us twice a year and when the big blue 1-800-GOT-JUNK? truck pulls up, the kids know to expect something special. They are so happy to have toys to play with and we also share with our two sister shelters and those children. Thank you so much again”.

We want to thank Ron and his staff at Fair Lawn Recycling Center, everyone who dropped by to donate their toys, and of course, our partners at 1-800-GOT-JUNK? for delivering these toys year after year.

We appreciate you all more than you know!

Evergreen School Success!

Students from Evergreen School in Scotch Plains, NJ helped clean more than 600 toys that they had collected in only one hour!  All of the toys were delivered to organizations in Newark and Elizabeth that same morning by our generous partners at 1-800-GOT-JUNK?.

 

Introduction to Winter Toy Collections

Like many, the holidays are our favorite and busiest time of the year. This year has been even busier than normal with our founder, Sasha, appearing on Good Morning America Thanksgiving morning, and with our exciting toy drive partnership with Old Spice and Kidville. To everyone who is just discovering and donating to Second Chance Toys™ for the first time, welcome!

Here’s a brief overview of how toy collecting works:

Our volunteers collect used plastic toys

  • We accept exclusively plastic toys (that's because they clean up easily, rarely show age/overuse, and they won’t biodegrade in landfills)
  • Please wipe down toys to clean them before donating
  • Toys should be in working order, new batteries installed if necessary
  • Make sure toys are big enough to reduce choking hazards for little ones (they should not be able to fit through a toilet paper roll)

Dropping off toys

  • Our website has drop off locations listed by metro area
  • This year's drop-off deadline is December 15
  • Toys are then delivered to organizations who have expressed a need for toys
  • Don't see a drop off location near you? Consider starting a collection next year! It takes just 50 toys to be matched with an organization
  • We hold two toy drives annually: One for the holidays and for Earth Day in April

Our Guarantees:

We vet and confirm EVERY ORGANIZATION requesting toys to make sure they are who they say they are. We also vet every toy collector to make sure they intend to donate the toys they collect. We GUARANTEE that every toy you donate goes directly to a child in need. That means toys are either donated to an organization and kids play with them on-site, or they’re gifted directly to children as a gift to open for Christmas. 

Since the term giving something a "second chance" is common, we want you to be aware that similarly named businesses might exist. But, as we state above, your toy donations through Second Chance Toys™ are always going to go to a child in need. Thank you for your support and for giving your/your kids’ toys a second chance!

Our Dedicated Friends at OLMC

A big THANK YOU to all of the amazing parents and kids at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Doylestown, PA!  

Year after year you have collected hundreds of beautiful gently used plastic toys so that we are able to donate them to less fortunate children in the local community. An equally big thank you goes out to our Board Member, Craig Scott, for being the local SCT team cheerleader for OLMC toy collections since the beginning.

It's because of passion and dedication like yours that we have been able to accomplish all we have these past years.

Want to help Second Chance Toys and our volunteers do more around the country? Consider a monetary donation this holiday season and help us grow our mission to help more children and the environment.

Happy Holidays!

 

Kidville & Second Chance Toys Holiday Collection

Once again, our dedicated friends at Kidville have partnered with us to collect gently used plastic toys for children in need!

How You Can Help: 

Bring Your Gently Used Plastic Toys* to Kidville

Donate the toys your children have outgrown as you make room for the new toys that will arrive for the holidays. We'll take care of getting the toys to children who might not otherwise receive gifts this holiday season. Click here to find a participating Kidville location near you.

* Donation Requirements: Toys must be plastic, gently used, clean and in good working condition. Battery powered toys must come with working batteries.

Make a Monetary Contribution

In addition to donating toys, you can help Second Chance Toys grow the programs that bring smiles to so many deserving children and help save the environment by making a tax deductible donation. Cliick here to make a contribution.

Thank you for your support!

 

Greenovate Boston & Second Chance Toys

In the spirit of giving and merriment this holiday season, Greenovate Boston is partnering with Second Chance Toys to host a used-toy drive December 1-15. With 21.6% of Boston’s population living in poverty, it’s important to remember that the Holidays can be a challenging time for many people, from providing warm winter clothes, to putting food on the table, to gift-giving. With your help, the City of Boston hopes to alleviate some of this stress, while also helping minimize waste.

For the first time ever, the city will be collecting gently used plastic toys, in addition to the Toys for Tots drive.  All toy donations must be clean, 100% plastic, no small, missing or broken parts, and come with working batteries.

DID YOU KNOW? Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the Earth four times. Plastic takes up to 1,000 years to degrade in a landfill.

Are you cleaning out your children’s toy closet before Santa comes? Do you have a plastic toy in need of a new home? Bring these toys to the collection sites at City Hall and 1010 Mass Ave. Donated toys will be delivered to local Boston organizations serving kids in need. If you want to go the extra mile, collect additional used toys from your neighbors, friends and/or co-workers at your holiday party or other event. We hope you join us in rescuing toys from the landfill, and giving them a second chance.

Visit GreenovateBoston.org to learn more

SCT Volunteer Spotlight: Mark Ciccaglione

The goal of an Eagle Scout Project is to demonstrate leadership while performing a project to benefit the community. It’s hard to find a more fitting description of what our toy collectors do. They demonstrate leadership and they certainly benefit their local community. So, it should come as no surprise that one 17-year-old’s successful toy drive collecting close to 1500 toys in New Jersey earned him the title of Eagle Scout.

Mark Ciccaglione’s project began in the summer of 2013, and culminated this past summer when he was officially awarded his Eagle Scout title, medal, and badge. He estimates that he put in over 50 hours of planning, executing, and managing the immensely successful toy drive.

Mark first got word out by distributing flyers to all of the houses in his town, going door to door and speaking with homeowners if they were home. Mark also reached out to his community in other ways, which included speaking at a few masses at his church, leaving drop boxes at the library, and setting up a table for donations outside of a toy store in town. Scouts ages 11-18 from Troop 80 in his hometown of Park Ridge, NJ, helped out by picking up toy collections and bringing them to his house.

Looking back on his project, Mark is very proud of what he and his community accomplished. Children at the New Community Corporation’s Early Learning Centers in Newark have a huge selection of good quality and educational toys to play with now. To show his appreciation he sent a thank you letter to his local newspaper, which was published.

To anyone who is in need of a non-profit organization to partner with, be it for an Eagle Scout Project or something else, Mark highly recommends working with Second Chance Toys. “It was my first choice and it was the best choice. They were easy to work with and they’re so supportive of people doing independent projects like mine needed to be. It was fun, but hard work at the same time -- it’s so rewarding when you look at the quantity of toys being donated to kids in need. That makes it worth it.”

Old Spice Partners with Second Chance Toys for a HoliSPRAY Toy Donation Exchange!

In a boy's journey to manhood, toys provide laughter, fun and exploration of the world. Building off of the above “Dadsong” ad, Old Spice is helping Second Chance Toys by bringing attention to the massive quantities of good-as-new children's toys taking up space in garages and attics around the country. Together, we are encouraging moms, dads, sons (and anyone with gently used plastic toys that they’ve outgrown) to donate them to kids in need. As a reward for this grown-up gesture, Old Spice will be gifting them with Re-fresh Body Spray in exchange for their donation.

Click here for more information on donation drop off/HoliSPRAY Exchange locations across the U.S.

Eco-Friendly Halloween Tips

There are so many ways to celebrate the spookiness of Halloween without compromising the environment. Check out these great ideas:

Crafts

When it comes to crafts it’s simple, use what you already have in the house. You can make some creepy crafts from food jars, paper plates, recycled plastic bags-- even the leaves on the ground outside. For more info on these fun activities, visit inhabitots.com.

Costumes

Costumes and accessories don’t have to break the bank and they can be healthy for the planet. Sometimes the best costumes come from your own closet so don’t forget to take a look at what you already own before going out and buying new.  Reusable trick-or-treat bags instead of plastic are best, and so is using face paint instead of purchasing rubber masks. Check out more ideas at Boston.com.

Parties

It’s easy to plan an eco-friendly Halloween extravaganza! Start by saving paper and using electronic invitations through Evite or email. Organic snacks and recyclable packaging is the next step. Using regular plates instead of paper is a good choice, and you can even recruit some goblins for help with cleanup later in the evening. For more eco-friendly party tips, visit Planetsave.com.

 

Happy eco-friendly Halloween! 

SCT is Looking for Talented Volunteers!

Company Description

Second Chance Toys (SCT) keeps plastic toys out of landfills by donating them to children in need.. SCT conducts annual toy collections through community-wide efforts during Earth Week (Apr) and Year-End Holidays (Nov/Dec). With growing awareness and interest in the mission of SCT, the charitable organization has secured corporate support from Kohl's, Johnson & Johnson, Viacom, and Kidville enabling us to grow our 'clearinghouse' model of connecting toy donors with collectors and collectors with recipient organizations.

Volunteer Job Description

We are looking for new SCT volunteers to help us with our blog content, social media efforts, corporate outreach, as well as general toy collection and event logistics.

Volunteers should have a minimum of 3 hours per week to contribute during the hours of 9am-5pm ET (flexible within those hours). Volunteers must have a professional background and be passionate about helping children and the environment. This is a great opportunity for Moms looking to reconnect and give back!!

By volunteering with SCT, you will have the opportunity to be a vital part of an award-winning organization that is connected to LinkedIn for Good Volunteering. Your dedication will allow SCT to expand our reach and help more children around the country.

Responsibilities include

  • Writing various types of articles on a wide range of topics dovetailing with the SCT mission for our blog
  • Develop and expand community and/or blogger outreach effort
  • Research and outreach to prospective partners  and other stakeholders through LinkedIn, email, and phone
  • Curate relevant content for social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) to reach SCT’s target audience(s)
  • Assist Operations Manager with toy collection logistics and events

Desired Skills and Experience

  • 3+ years of experience in a professional setting
  • Non-profit experience a plus
  • Exceptional writing and editing skills, as well as the ability to adopt the style, tone, and voice of our organization’s various types of content
  • Excellent organizational skills to work independently
  • Exceptional communications skills, written and verbal

Please send resume to jennifer@secondchancetoys.org if interested.

 

 

As the Holiday Season Approaches, Pass Along a Smile to a Child in Need

The fall season is in full swing and kids are back into their school time routines. Old toys that haven't seen the light of day in months if not years find out they are no longer needed and are put in plastic bags for the landfill to make room for the upcoming holiday season. It's a rite of passage for children as they grow and move on to different interests, activities, as well as social and intellectual levels.

Meanwhile, this time of year is not full of fun and rights of passages for some children. They find themselves in shelters or in an impoverished neighborhood and there are no funds to get them new toys. The toys that other children are throwing away are ones that they would love to have in their own hands.

There was a time when those outdated toys would have no way to get to the children who needed and wanted them. Second Chance Toys makes this possible for children in need to these toys-- the toys are given a second chance at making a child happy.

As a collection center for Second Chance Toys here at Fair Lawn Recycling Center, I get the opportunity to speak with those donating the toys. They ask questions about the children who will be getting the toys and are genuinely happy that they can make a difference in their lives. Their smiles will even rival those of the children receiving the donations. What touches my heart is that I’ve had donors come as far away as New York and other states (I’m in New Jersey) just to drop the toys off. They feel that this is important and the travel time is worth the smile they hope to give a child in need.

As the fall passes and the holiday season approaches, send along a smile for a child in need and donate your used plastic toys.

Author: Ron Lottermann, Fair Lawn Recycling Coordinator / Clean Communities Coordinator

Gyre: Creating Art From a Plastic Ocean

A team of scientists and artists investigate the buildup of marine debris along the Alaskan coast. Their goal: to create art from the trash they find and raise awareness about its impact on oceans and wildlife. Visit National Geographic for the full story.

 

Employee Volunteer Events: A Day Of Giving Is A Day Of Receiving

When my family and I started Second Chance Toys seven years ago, our main objective was to collect gently used plastic toys, clean and refurbish them and then donate them to children in need. We never imagined that 8 years later our collection and cleaning drives would become one of the most sought after employee volunteer initiatives in the communities we serve. The winning combination between helping underserved children, and saving the earth resonated with sustainability and human resource representatives at major corporations such as Viacom and Johnson & Johnson because those companies knew that this type of program would foster, among other things, employee engagement.

The event is so simple in nature. The company holds an internal collection of gently used plastic toys prior to the event. We set up cleaning stations, an area where employees get tot tag the toys and write a nice note on them for their new owner, and then they are packed up for delivery to their new homes. As a treat for employees, we often have music, dancing, face- painting, and celebrity appearances. Combined with the teambuilding effort to accomplish a common goal, these events have helped our corporate partners engage their employees and fine tune their teamwork skills with a fun and rewarding activity.

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It's That Time of Year Again!

Summer flew by and it’s already September! Second Chance Toys has been busy planning our 2014 Holiday Toy Collection.

Now is the perfect time to start thinking about your own SCT holiday collection with the help of your teachers, classmates, friends, family, neighbors and colleagues.

Are you a teacher or part of the PTA at your child’s school? We have had a ton of success when working together with parents to collect gently used plastic toys and then donating them to local kids in need. We can provide you with morning announcements and flyers to help get the word out. Depending on your local assigned recipient, you might even be able to bring your kids along when you deliver your donations so they are able to witness the impact they are making.

Does your company hold holiday volunteer initiatives that give back to the community? Second Chance Toys is a perfect partner for team building toy collections and we will provide you with all of the resources to make your event fun and successful. It’s never too early to get your coworkers excited about SCT!

If you’re in one of our major metro areas and you open your collection up to the community, you can post your information on our website under drop-off locations so local donors are able to find you and drop their toys off.

Not in one of our metro areas and want to be open to the public? No problem! Email us and we can help you promote by posting your event details on social media for our followers.

We encourage all volunteers, from individuals to large groups, to consider holding your own SCT gently used plastic toy collection so that you can do your part in making sure every child has a toy this holiday season. On top of the smiles your toy donations will bring, you’ll be helping the environment at the very same time by keeping the non-biodegradable plastics out of landfills.

As described perfectly by one of our amazing corporate sponsors, “Second Chance Toys is loved recycled, who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?”

Interested in learning more? Visit our website or email info@secondchancetoys.org with questions.

The SCT Holiday Toy Collection 2014 registration will open on November 1st at www.secondchancetoys.org/collect-toys

A Family Mission

Imagine this: One email and suddenly you’ve got hundreds of toys stacked high in your garage. That’s what happens twice a year for the Savage family in New Jersey. People from all over the school district swing by the Savage residence to unload a car or van full of toys. The family, along with teenage friends of their two sons, cleans the toys and delivers them to organizations in need.

The family’s interest in Second Chance Toys began when they started looking for a charity to volunteer with that could work around their hectic schedule. Anyone who has two teenage sons knows that there’s never a dull moment. With a different game or activity each night, it can be hard to nail down a regular time to volunteer somewhere. That’s not a problem with Second Chance Toys. Collections are run on the collector’s terms, so working the drive into their busy schedule was much easier.

For their first-ever toy drive, the Savages had the smart idea to ask their sons’ school district to include a note about their collection in an email sent to every parent in their (very large) school district. Little did they know just how effective this email would be! In no time, their two-car garage was stacked high with close to 1,000 toys. That year the toys were going to a local Head Start location, so the Savages loaded the toys into a rented Uhaul and made the delivery. As they hauled the toys into the conference room, teachers from Head Start stood sobbing from the generous donation. That remains a favorite and cherished memory of the Savage Family.

Another favorite moment came when they were delivering toys to a Catholic Charities location. The toys were being placed in an all-purpose space with glass walls. The children stood at the walls watching with excitement and anticipation as they brought each toy into the room.

Memories like those make it easy and exciting to hold the drive each year. This year marks the 5th year the Savages have worked with Second Chance Toys. After that first successful year, 1-800-GOT-JUNK volunteered their services and now provides transport for the toys.

Although it’s certainly far from the reason they started volunteering with Second Chance Toys, the Savage’s successful toy drives have even given them some local notoriety. Their newspaper did a write up about their efforts one year, and mother Bonnie Savage recalls sitting at a school site council meeting once, listening to the principal boast about the great toy collection that students were running—only to realize that he was talking about her sons!

Thanks to the continuing generous donations from the families in the South Brunswick School District, and the hard work and smart planning on behalf of the Savages, they’ve been able to collect, clean, and deliver close to 5,000 toys to children in need in New Jersey so far.

Kind Reminders of Continued Support

The nonprofit organization, Project SEEYM, stands for “Supportive Empowerment Events for Young Mothers” and was founded and exclusively designed to empower and support low-income young mothers and young fathers who are living in low-income housing arrangements.

The organization’s purpose is to empower young adult parents (ages 17-24) by offering them encouragement, support, and an array of resources through a variety of community events. These events are geared for the family learning experiences as they explore opportunities they may enjoy with their dependent children. The program helps enable the young parents to pursue higher education, entrepreneurship, or job training programs that will improve their lives and the lives of their children.

Throughout the year, participants look forward to Project SEEYM events that provide the young families with parenting skills seminars, health and wellness workshops, influential guest speakers, entrepreneurship opportunity referrals and entrance into job training programs. The goal is to encourage our young parents to think about and know their options, both for continuing education and employment leading them into self-sufficiency.

In NYC, more than half the children live in families that struggle to meet their most basic needs for food, housing, diapers, and medical care. They are economically vulnerable and face numerous hardships so toys are a costly expense for these young families. Because of Second Chance Toys, we are able to remind the struggling families of how much the community cares and supports them. The Second Chance Toys donations make a difference in the lives of their children and show the true meaning of love and kindness.

We thank SCT for the generous donations and valued partnership. They have been a blessing to our organization.

  - Project SEEYM

Volunteering to Suit Your Skills

I happened upon Second Chance Toys through VolunteerMatch.com earlier this year. I was a (semi) new stay-at-home-mom looking for a way to volunteer my time during my son’s naptime, and also satisfy my growing itch to get back to work. I started to look for opportunities locally—I live near Detroit, so there are certainly plenty of places that need the help. But I found that many organizations needed someone in their office, or were looking for someone to work too many hours a week so I started to look for opportunities nationwide.

I was lucky enough to find Second Chance Toys right away when I added the word “toy” to my VolunteerMatch search. I worked in PR for toy companies before I had my son so that seemed like a natural fit. Looking back, I can’t really imagine a better fitting organization for me. Helping kids, saving plastic from the landfills, and if I were to start my own collection (which I intend on doing) I’ll be able to deliver toys to in-need organizations in Detroit. Win-win-win!

If you’re reading this and have thought about volunteering, I encourage you to do it. You don’t have to organize a collection to help. If you’ve got a particular skill or connection that you think would be beneficial to Second Chance Toys, let them know. I put the last two newsletters together and have been conducting and writing interviews for the newsletter. There were all sorts of things I could’ve helped with, but given my background, the newsletter was right up my alley. Speaking with the amazing volunteers and toy recipients has been inspiring and very rewarding. It’s so nice to be able to put an hour of time in here and there and still be able to contribute and help out such a great cause.

If you’re like me and want to make a difference but don’t have any toys to donate, reach out today. Maybe there’s something that’ll be a perfect match for you, just like it was for me!

Author: Kaitlin Bevins, SCT Volunteer and Super Mom

It's the Little Things

It really is the little things that make the biggest impact.

Second Chance Toys received a surprise package from one of our recipient Head Start locations in Pennsylvania yesterday. We weren’t exactly sure what we would find inside, but we were pleasantly surprised!

The children who received toy donations over Earth Week from Kohl's Cares sent us their artwork under the title “Playing with my new toy”.  The bright colors and excitement that their crayons brought to life was better than anything else we could have received. 

Thank you for sharing your joy and creativity with us. We are proudly displaying your drawings as an adorable daily reminder of why we do what we do

Scroll down for a few samples from these mini Picassos.

 

 

 

Direct2Dell: Celebrating the People and Companies Who Turn Dreams and Ideas Into Reality

Let’s celebrate!

Earlier this year, we kicked off our “Beginnings” campaign that celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit we share with our customers by showcasing innovative companies that have grown from humble beginnings into some of America’s most iconic brands.

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