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Getting Started Kit

Welcome to Second Chance Toys, a charitable initiative to rescue and recycle gently loved plastic toys for children in need. Your efforts will make a difference and provide the much needed tools for play and social development.

This "How To" kit will help you get started with your own toy collection and provide ideas for rescuing, cleaning, and donating toys through local organizations that serve disadvantaged children. Our mission is to help the environment and children everywhere. We invite any comments or questions to help you get your own program off the ground.

Step 1: Find Toys
Step 2: Prepare Toys
Step 3: Find an Organization
Step 4: Donate Toys
Step 5: Get Media Coverage
Step 6: Use Our Resource Materials


Search for ToysStep 1: Find Toys

  • Accept plastic toys only
    - They look good as new, are easily cleaned, contain no lead paint, do not biodegrade in our landfills
    - Toys must be complete: no broken, small or missing parts and batteries must work
    - Collections are conducted during April for Earth Week or in November/December for the holidays
  • Network with family, friends, business colleagues, schools, organizations, troops and religious groups for toy donation.
  • Use social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to reach your personal networks and promote your collection.
  • Download our resource materials including flyers, poster, tags and activity booklets, and customize with your collection information.
    - Use to publicize your collection (see Step 5)
  • TIP: Find out the dates for bulk trash days in your surrounding communities. This is an easy way to get lots of toys in just a few hours!

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Prepare ToysStep 2: Prepare Toys

  • Ask for donations of CLEAN plastic toys
  • If cleaning is still necessary:
    - Cleaning can be a fun group and team-building activity
    - Use an antibacterial soap or wipes
  • Avoid hazardous toys
    - Check against the CPSC toy recall list
    - No plastic slinkies
    - No toys with small pieces
    - Any piece that can fit through the opening of a toilet paper roll is a choking hazard
  • Take photos of your collection
    - Let everyone know about your great work. Submit your photos and a description to be posted on our blog

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Find OrganizationStep 3: Find an Organization

  • Fill out the Toy Collection Form to become eligible to collect toys
  • Second Chance Toys will introduce you to your assigned recipient organization by email just prior to the end date you have listed for your collection
  • When you contact the organization:
    - Confirm the maximum number of toys they can accept. This may impact how many days you hold your collection. OR, you may need to line up more than one organization to receive your toys
    - Establish drop off dates that are convenient for you and the organization

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Donate ToysStep 4: Donate Toys

  • Pack up your collected plastic toys in large plastic bags
  • Make your toys count!
    - As a 501(c)3 we are accountable for every toy donated. As you are conducting your collection, please be sure to keep track of the amount of toys you will be donating. 
  • If you would like to be featured on our website blog and/or social media pages, send us a short description and attach some photos of your efforts.

*Remember to establish permission ahead of time before taking photos at the donation, as taking photos of children is at the discretion of the organization/parents.

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Get Media Coverage for your Toy EventStep 5: Get Media Coverage

  • Media coverage is beneficial. It helps create awareness of your efforts and generates leads for toy donations
  • The local press loves the Second Chance Toys story as it involves children and the environment. You may always refer them to our website for more information.
  • Search online for your local newspapers
  • Pre-collection publicity:
    - Spread the word about your collection. Send/email the details in a community calendar alert to your local newspaper. Send as soon as possible so the paper can publish ahead of time
    - Hang a flyer/poster around town to drive more involvement
  • Post-collection publicity:
    - Get the name of the assignment editor or a reporter that covers community service or the environment at your local newspaper or website
    - Email a press release tailored with your collection dates, hours and location.
  • Follow-up:
    - Determine if they have received the release and are interested in the story
    - Use the opportunity to explain your program
    - Ask the media if they plan to send a photographer to your toy donation. Be sure to establish permission from the organization first
    - OR, send your own photo, caption and press release following the donation
    - Call to see if and when they plan to publicize your collection/donation

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Use Second Chance Toys Resource LibraryStep 6: Use Our Resource Materials

Once you sign up as a Collector, be sure to use these free materials to promote your collection.

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