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For the past three years, Virginia-based management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton (NYSE: BAH) held gently used plastic toy collections as part of April’s Earth Day events. Not only does the quantity of collected toys continue to grow, but so does the participation of more Booz Allen offices.


This year, the Booz Allen Sustainability Program Management Office coordinated the involvement of eight offices throughout Virginia, DC, Maryland, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Each team provided collection areas or boxes within their offices, cleaned the toys to look good-as- new, and donated them to local organizations matched by Second Chance Toys. This year’s program was co-chaired by employee volunteers Elaine Soya and Kathy Medici, with the cleanup supported by employee forums as part of Take Your Children to Work Day.

"We are thrilled to see enthusiasm for this program growing internally," said Sustainability Program Manager Elizabeth Wayt. "Teams are helping local children in need while doing something meaningful in celebration of Earth Month."

In some instances, volunteers themselves delivered collections of used toys directly to their local organization. "Seeing the smiling faces of the deserving children and knowing that we were directly responsible for bringing so much happiness warmed our hearts," remarked DC volunteer Nadine Goff.

Here's how the Booz Allen volunteer efforts helped make a difference:

• Booz Allen offices donated a total of 1,500 toys
• Approximately 6,000 lbs. of plastic were kept out of landfills
• Eight organizations benefited from the toy donations
• Employee children who donated learned important life lessons of giving and reuse
• An average of 4,500 smiles will be generated with each round of play (an average of three children per toy)

Second Chance Toys is grateful for the time, effort, and enthusiasm devoted to this growing Earth Month program at Booz Allen and for the firm’s recognition of our mission in the way of a generous grant.

Why is Buzz Lightyear smiling? Because thousands of his plastic toy friends were saved from landfills this Earth Month!!

Second Chance Toys enjoyed a great response allowing us to match many individual collectors from around the country with organizations in their local area that need toys. Additionally, we enjoyed many repeat collectors who have consistently seen an increase in the number of toys donated year after year. Many locals have now come to rely on repeat collections and know to save up their toys throughout the year.

We have received comments from parents that Second Chance Toys provides a guilt-free way to dispose of plastic toys, knowing they will not end up in a landfill and instead, be played with again. Many parents and grandparents use the donation process to instill in their children the life lessons of giving and reuse.

With over 8,000 toys donated this April, we were able to spread the love far and wide and in the process, keep over 30,000 pounds of plastic out of the landfills!! Thank you everyone who donated, collected, and supported Second Chance Toys. We depend on volunteers to help make magic for children and the environment.

In spite of the downpour, the kids and parents at Evergreen School rallied and collected over 300 toys in just a little more than an hour. The toys were cleaned, batteries were changed and these colorful plastic gems looked as good as new!! On hand were our friends from 1-800-GOT-JUNK? who volunteered their time, manpower and truck to pickup and deliver the toys to Freedom Ministries in Plainfield.

Evergreen has been doing twice yearly collections with Second Chance Toys for 10 years, since 2008! Thanks to the PTA volunteers for getting the word out, organizing the drive and helping the fourth grade volunteers that cleaned and inspected the toys. This was another great success in a string of many!!!

It was a beautiful sunny day and 27 volunteers for Viacommunity Day, Viacom's day of service, descended upon Fairlawn Recycling Center in NJ, where gently used plastic toys are collected for Second Chance Toys throughout the year.

An entire pod at the center was filled with beautiful toys awaiting a new home. All they needed was a little washing with soap and water and presto, good-as-new! During the course of three hours' time, volunteers inspected the toys, cleaned the 1,500 approved toys to a shine, then bagged and loaded them onto the two 1-800- GOT-JUNK? trucks that were waiting to deliver the toys.

"It was a great team bonding experience," noted Wanda Farag, team captain. "We all had fun getting to know one another, as we all worked together towards the same goal," she continued.

The 1,500 toys that were delivered to 5 local organizations not only brought thousands of smiles to deserving faces, but 6,000 pounds of plastic were saved from the landfill!

Thank you Viacom for allowing the amazing Viacommunity Day volunteers to provide the manpower needed to make this incredible event a reality.

There are so many decisions when it comes to choosing how to donate your hard-earned money. For me, personally, there’s an additional layer of thought and calculation that comes with it. Our organization has to be extremely picky with our charitable partners, making sure that they’re both fiscally responsible and making real, tangible impact.

Second Chance Toys is definitely one of our favorites. For one, we love the fact that their cause is multifaceted, focusing on both providing toys to those in need and keeping plastic out of landfills here in America. It’s that kind of ingenuity that we need from our partners. They truly answer the question of “how can we take this one step further?”

Our campaign with them and Benny Benassi over the holidays was heartwarming-- more so than a lot of the other campaigns we ran. There was just another level of importance added to our usual process knowing that people who care about these kids were out there, providing for them and helping save our environment at the same time.

This was certainly only the first step between our two organizations in what will be a beautiful relationship for years to come.

-Clayton Warwick is founder of Cadence & Cause, an organization that connects artists, fans and worthy causes to measurably make an impact

Thanks to all the Kidz Bop Kids for such an amazing video in celebration of Earth Week.
 

 

McGinn Elementary is in Scotch Plains, NJ, with approximately 500 students from K-4th grade.  Our PTA feels lucky to have partnered with Second Chance Toys this school year as they coordinated a partnership between our school community and a local community organization that was in need of toys. We have had two successful drives this school year, collecting over 800 toys for the holidays in December and over 600 in celebration of Earth Day.  

Here's how our collections are run:
• Getting the word out is key: PTA eblasts, "McGinn Moms" Facebook page
• Held for one morning only, during school drop off
• 5-10 parent volunteers and 10 fourth grader student volunteers help out
• At arrival, volunteers collect toys at each of our entries and at the car drop off line
• Toys are brought into our Multipurpose Room during the 20 minute drop off period
• Student/parent volunteers inspect and clean the toys with disposable wipes
• Toys are tested to see if they need new batteries installed  
• Toys that have been cleaned and are operational are placed in a donation area
• The toys are counted and placed in large plastic garbage bags
• We help load up the toys when the organization arrives for pickup

The students are eager to participate in this event.  Not only do they get to miss the first half hour of instruction, they have fun and really enjoy doing this for less fortunate children.  In total, the students volunteer one hour of their time, from 8:00-9:00 am, and the parents volunteer from 8:00-10:00 am.  We love the life lessons our kids learn from this event and plan on doing this next year!

-Kelly Sacchetti, mom and PTA member

Toys are often donated after they've spent time being loved in the home. This Earth Month we were lucky to receive donations from two wonderful toy companies. The first was from Learning Express, a chain of toy stores offering educational and creative playthings for children. The second was from Melissa & Doug, whose toys help children imagine, discover and create. Thanks to both companies for thinking of us!

Members of the Learning Express Team helped load up 300 toy samples for Communities United in Woburn, MA. Thank you Lauren and Becki for helping to arrange this most generous donation from Learning Express!!!. 

​Above, a huge box of toys was prepared especially for the Mid-Fairfield Child Guidance Center in Connecticut. Thanks Amanda, for making this generous toy donation from Melissa & Doug a possibility!

Guest blog post from Madeline Cohen of Kimco Realty:

This year, Earth Day brought Kimco the chance to give back — not only to the environment, but to children in need. Every year, perfectly usable but unwanted plastic toys are forgotten or thrown into landfills, where they take up space and don’t biodegrade. While they are in good working condition and show little sign of wear, they get tossed out, almost always in ways that do harm to the planet.

To help lessen this practice by donating these items to underprivileged children, Kimco partnered with Second Chance Toys, a non-profit which helps to save plastic toys from landfills and give them a better purpose, providing a mutually beneficial waste-need solution. Our toys went to Manhasset Head Start, another non-profit dedicated to ensuring that all at-risk children have access to a model of support that will help the child, their family, and the community as a whole.

Studies have shown that toys inspire play, which is critical to healthy development in children. Yet many go without these childhood staples, with 12.5 million children in the United States under the age of six living in low-income families, and almost a quarter of those living in poverty. Since 2006, Second Chance Toys has helped save over 200,000 plastic toys from filling landfills, instead finding them new homes with children who will benefit from them.

From April 12 to April 18, Kimco collected, cleaned, and added another 80 toys to that total — a great way to celebrate Earth Day, protect the environment, and help out those in need. Thanks to all who participated in this good cause!

Please help and join Kidville in keeping plastic toys from landfills by donating them to children in need.

Simply share a photo of your child with their favorite toy and invite friends to join in using #ToyRescue. For every photo shared, one toy will be donated to a deserving child!

Click here to add your photo.

 

From April 17th - 23rd you can also drop off your gently used plastic toys at participating Kidville locations.

Earth Day will soon be upon us. Many are already thinking of ways to participate and help our environment. Kathryn Garcia, Commissioner, New York City Department of Sanitation, underscores the importance of reuse and why we should think twice before simply tossing things out.  

As many of you know, donation and reuse play an important role within the Department of Sanitation’s Zero Waste plan. Each day, New Yorkers throw more than 12,000 tons of material; however, within those trash bags we know there are items that have value. New Yorkers who donate and reuse those items instead of discarding them greatly reduce waste, conserve resources and save money—all while helping provide jobs and human services to fellow residents.

DonateNYC and reuse is an essential part of NYC’s 0X30 initiative, helping us reach the goal of sending zero waste to landfills by 2030. To reduce the amount of usable items that end up in landfills, programs such as donateNYC help connect residents looking to give away goods, with nonprofits like Second Chance Toys, looking to take used items. Toys are not always an easy item to donate, as many organizations do not accept them. However, with their unique model, Second Chance Toys fills an important gap within our local donations and reuse community. Through innovative partnerships with local businesses, Second Chance Toys has diverted more than 250,000 plastic toys from landfills since their inception, leading to countless smiles on the faces of children.

Earth Week is approaching, which of course means Second Chance Toys is once again gearing up for another successful spring toy drive. I would like thank them for their important work and remind New Yorkers that donating goods to donateNYC nonprofit partners like Second Chance Toys not only helps us meet our Zero Waste goals, but does so in the spirit of our shared commitment to service the communities in which we live and work every day.

Kathryn Garcia, Commissioner

New York City Department of Sanitation  

It was not until a delivery of Second Chance Toys to the Brownsville section of Brooklyn this past holiday, that the children at Ascend Charter School had toys for recess. As if the new squeals of joy at recess were not enough, the team of social workers were able to put some of the toys from Second Chance Toys to use to help the students work through behavioral issues. "Toys are wonderful tools that allow us to help our children without them realizing it," commented Amanda Michel, M.S.Ed. "While it appears to the children that we are simply playing”, she continued, “we are actually building conflict resolution, problem solving, and pro-social skills." 

Among the many toys donated, the school social workers and counselors are now utilizing a dollhouse in counseling sessions in order to role play problems that arise in the classroom. They use a Monopoly Junior game and other toys to help develop good sportsmanship skills, including taking turns and using kind words with peers. The Legos and action figures are great to use with the students who struggle with following directions, and a Light Brite toy is perfect for helping the children improve their fine motor skills. To top it all off, the donated foosball table will be used to encourage parent-child interaction in a school setting for family game nights!

"Bottom line,” added Allison McKenna, LMSW, “The toys play a key role in providing our students with a developmentally appropriate way to learn about themselves and the world around them. These toys are invaluable!"

 

Bring your children to the Raymour & Flanigan Furniture and Mattresses toy collection March 21st, 4P - 7P, 1961 Broadway at 66th, in Manhattan.

Donate a gently used plastic toy, teach your kids great life lessons and enjoy FREE ice cream and balloons.

At an early age, all children learn about the Three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Elementary school teachers use these simple words to teach children to protect the environment. At home you can remind your children of the reasons behind the green behaviors you expect from them. For example, when your children leave the room and turn off the light, praise them for reducing their energy usage. Congratulate them for reusing resources when they drink from a refillable water bottle. And of course, keep reminding them of the importance of recycling paper, cardboard, glass, and many plastics!

Here are some ideas you can practice with your children:

Reduce:  Cut down on the number of disposable products your family uses by giving your children their own cutlery to bring with them for school lunches or fast-food restaurants. Have them practice saying “no forks, please” when you order food.

Reuse: Before going shopping for new clothes, check first with siblings, cousins or friends' children for hand-me-downs. Then have a fashion show to make these previously worn clothes special and their own! When you do go shopping, have your child get involved by decorating  reusable shopping bags with fabric markers. Then give their artwork a place of honor in your house – so they can remind you to take them and avoid using plastic bags!

Recycle: Look up your local recycling rules with your children. Then, once your kids know how recyclables need to be sorted, encourage them to volunteer in their classrooms to make sure that all of the recyclables go in the right containers.

Remember, the more enthusiastic you are about the Three R’s, the more excited your children will be to go green!

Kathleen Kellett, a writer with an M.A. in Children's Literature and an M.F.A. in Writing for Children, sees toys as a great medium through which children can hone their own storytelling skills.

As we approach Earth Week, SCT Board Member, Nicolas Gordon, discusses the importance of REUSE especially when it comes to plastic toys:

In the past decade, we have become more literate about the environmental and social impacts of our daily actions. But we are also beginning to understand how for pretty much every business out there, there is a significant trade-off between what is good for the financial bottom line or what is healthy for our communities and our planet. There are the upstream impacts such as the carbon emissions from manufacturing, packaging and shipping, and the downstream impacts such as transport and disposal, typically to landfills. For plastic toys, those landfills will be their home for at least another 500 years. That’s not what we want to think about when giving a child a plastic toy. Toys, unlike other common man-made polymers, are close to impossible to recycle, making reuse pretty much the only alternative to lessen their environmental footprint.

Second Chance Toys provides a real solution to this trade-off dilemma by taking gently used toys from those who have no more use for them and placing them into the hands of those in need. The impact is direct, local and profound, and allows all parties involved to become engaged in a new way of dealing with waste while addressing social challenges. Both the City and the State of New York have ambitious waste programs in place to not only tackle the issue of long-term waste reduction but to also reduce the impact of the waste management system on historically overburdened poor and minority neighborhoods.

Take a moment to eyeball all the plastic toys that your children have. If they no longer play with them, they need not clutter your closets nor our landfills, especially when Second Chance Toys offers the option for them to benefit so many children in need. Find out how you can work with Second Chance Toys to donate or start a collection of your own.

Nicolas Gordon, Second Chance Toys Board Member and Sustainability and Life Cycle Strategy Advisor


Two years ago, our EarthServe team for J&J facilities in Raritan, NJ was very excited to learn about Second Chance Toys. As a campus green team, our goal is to promote sustainable business practices and to encourage reducing, reusing and recycling. The Second Chance Toys program is a win-win for us because it keeps plastic toys out of landfills and gives them a reuse purpose as playthings for children with fewer advantages. This is our third successful annual used toy drive. We find that putting up flyers and publishing articles in our quarterly newsletter gets the word out well internally. We start publicizing before Thanksgiving, so people who wish to donate can use the holiday break to clean out their children’s toy chests. When the drive is over, we sort the toys, making sure that everything is clean and nothing is broken. Then we count and photograph the collection and finally we arrange to make the delivery to the organization(s) we have been matched with by Second Chance Toys. The toy delivery is the best part, of course, providing us an opportunity to feel like Santa Claus and see all the smiles generated as a result of our efforts.   -Catherine Pherson, EarthServe Member

Our friends at 1-800- GOT-JUNK? have been volunteering to help us collect toys since 2008. Because of their continued support of time, trucks and manpower, Second Chance Toys has been able to reach so many more children and keep hundreds of thousands of plastic toys out of our landfills. Thank you 1-800- GOT-JUNK? for being such a loyal partner for all these years. You have made a difference in the lives of so many kids and have been helpful to our environment in the process. Pictured above showing off their Second Chance Toys' Certificates of Appreciation are our 1-800- GOT-JUNK? friends that service all 5 boroughs of New York City and parts of New Jersey.

Many thanks for all you do!!

 

Known as the "Shining Star of Williamsburg," P.S. 132's awe-inspiring students, families, and community members generously donated their gently used plastic toys to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of underprivileged children! Upon starting its 2016 Second Chance Toys Drive, coordinated by Arts Liaison, Mrs. Heather de Koning Foley, the collection goal was 200 toys. Incredibly, they surpassed their goal in one day! After a week-long collection period, they were immensely proud to report that they collected 994 toys!

Their students learned how their generosity impacted their peers and how their plastic recycling efforts benefited the environment. The school is grateful to all those who contributed to its toy drive and are looking forward to next year's drive!

Second Chance Toys would like to thank parent volunteer, Danielle Sanchez, for overseeing the cleaning and sorting of the toys, and for helping us coordinate the donation to the three lucky organizations that received P.S. 132’s pristine toys.

 

Sharaay Tefila Synagogue in Manhattan collects close to 600 toys for Second Chance Toys every holiday. This year the toys were divided among three locations including ECDO Adam Clayton Powell Early Learning Center, Parents Association PS 194 and Greater Harlem Healthy Start, all located in upper Manhattan.

Luci Kadage at Greater Harlem Healthy Start sent us this photo and thank you note: “Thank for helping so many moms who cannot afford to buy toys for their children due to lack of basic necessity. You gave them the reason to smile again in this season of giving. Thank you for serving our community. All our moms were happy.”

Under the direction of Fran Miller, the Early Childhood Center at the Washington Hebrew Congregation once again collected hundreds of colorful plastic toys this holiday to be donated to Clifton Park Baptist Church for their community distribution. Randi Drewry at the church made sure that some of the toys were distributed to victims of the Long Branch apartment fire (pictured), as well as the New Hampshire Estates Elementary School, both in Silver Spring, MD.

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