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There are so many reasons why donating plastic toys can be a special experience for families. Even aside from providing toys to kids who don’t have many or even any of their own, the morals that come with homegrown altruism from a young age are priceless!

Children who donate their toys become economists! When it comes to children’s plastic toys, regardless of the manufacturer, age range, colors, and sizes, the plastics being used are some of the most durable materials available. Modern toys can last in good condition for years, but kids won’t remain interested for that long. This is where to introduce trading out the “old” toys that are no longer of interest and place them somewhere where they’ll go to good use. By passing their toys onto the next audience, children learn the concept of circularity, reuse, refurbishment.

Children who donate their toys become environmentalists! With popular kids brands such as Hasbro and Mattel instituting sustainable policies, the toy industry is shifting to accommodate the massive challenge of plastic pollution. Some of these policies include reducing the amount of plastics used in packaging, offering recycling programs, and encouraging upcycling or donating. Stewardship to the Earth doesn’t just entail recycling paper, plastic bottles, and saving water, but also requires reuse and contribution to the circular economy which requires much more imagination and reflection. As toy owners, kids who are invited to add their toys to this “circle of playing” learn how to make decisions about space, functionality, and sustainability.

Children who donate their toys are compassionate! When we at SCT organize a toy collection, pick-up, or delivery, we always have the two greatest things in mind: the Earth and the children sharing it. Compassion and care for people and our planet is at the core of our mission and is what drives SCT and all of our partners to work together! Donating toys opens a conversation with our children about those who are less fortunate financially and emotionally. An act as simple as passing on our toys can bring immeasurable joy to a child and help struggling parents maintain their dignity during the holiday season. Toy donation also brings the environment into the conversation by introducing the challenges we face from waste, landfills, and plastic pollution; Thus creating a lifelong bond between children and the natural world in which we live and are helping to conserve!

Whether it’s a spring cleaning marathon, or making room for new toys before the holidays, donating plastic toys with SCT is a meaningful experience for any family looking to make a difference in the world.

It was wonderful to see that ViacomCBS, Citi and AIG quickly recognized the value our virtual toy collection and cleaning programs would bring to their employee volunteers. They included the Second Chance Toys program in their event lineups and the results were a resounding success!

Viacom CBS Virtual Community Day

ViacomCBS is no stranger to our programs. They have been a corporate supporter of Second Chance Toys since 2013. Through the years, they have diverted tens of thousands of pounds of plastic from landfills through various toy cleaning events, as well as their own internal toy collections.  Importantly, ViacomCBS has singlehandedly been responsible for tens of thousands of toys getting into the hands of children in need.

For this year's Virtual Community Day, 30 ViacomCBS employees and their children signed up to participate. We arranged for donation of the almost 100 toys they collected, to the DC National Guard Families. Additionally, one event participant in California, with huge outdoor toys including a playhouse, sandbox, and kitchenette, was able to donate them as we matched her with an organization nearby. According to Adam Robinson, VP, Corporate Social Responsibility, "Our employees were so happy to have an experience that taught their kids and families the importance of reuse and giving in a fun and personal way.”

On top of the amazing turnout and toys, ViacomCBS supports us with a generous grant in recognition of our programs! We are so grateful for their efforts and participation throughout the years and enjoy working with such an enthusiastic group. Thank you!!

Citi Global Community Day

Citi has been a corporate supporter of Second Chance Toys since 2018. Not only have they invited us to be a part of their annual Global Community Day, but they also conducted toy collections for the holidays in their NY headquarters. Citi volunteers and their children enjoy participation at our recycling center toy cleanings and have made it possible for thousands of toys to reach the hands of children in need.

For this year's virtual Global Community Day event, over 80 Citi volunteers signed up to participate and donated over 300 toys, which were then warehoused in collaboration with R. Cano Events and then distributed to two local organizations in Long Island City, NY courtesy of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? Reem Aliessa, Citi Volunteers Program Manager, commented: "Our volunteers were enthusiastic about the program because it engaged their children at home and taught them about sustainability, the environment and the importance of keeping plastic out of landfills."

In addition to their consistent participation with our programs, Citi supports us with generous funding. Thank you, Citi, for your efforts and for helping us further our mission! We are so grateful. 

AIG Global Volunteer Month

We joined forces with AIG volunteers during their Global Volunteer Month in April, which was entirely virtual this year. We engaged over a dozen volunteers and their children in a virtual toy drive and clean up. Pamella Rodrigues, Director of Corporate Citizenship, stated, "This event provided AIG colleagues and their children with the opportunity to do something positive together from the safety of their homes while caring for the environment. It also sparked many conversations about the importance of giving back. It is never too early to teach our kids the value of community service and empathy.”

The 134 toys were sent to a central location and then distributed, courtesy of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, to one of our participating organizations in West Orange, NJ. Thank you, AIG for recognizing the value of our mission. We look forward to working with you in the future.

The pandemic changed many of our behaviors, not only in the way we socialize, travel and do business, but even in the way we help others in need. And for Second Chance Toys, that meant reimagining in-person toy collections and cleanings so that participants could safely partake and still feel the camaraderie and fun that these events bring. We came up with virtual toy collections and cleanings that are educational, fun, and bring parents and children together in the comfort of their homes to Do Good and Be Green. The response has been tremendous!

How does it work? 

  • We ask participating companies to call for volunteers and their kids to collect toys in advance of the zoom event.
  • While participants are cleaning their toys together virtually, we engage them with questions about plastics, sustainability and even their favorite toys!
  • Worksheets are sent to participants ahead of time to reinforce learning about reuse and giving during the event, as well as before and after.
    • Children have an opportunity to show off their coloring sheets, sing together a sustainability rap song, and calculate their personal impact on the environment.
    • After the event is over, parents and children can continue the conversation with our four-page teacher reviewed activity booklet that is both fun and educational. 
  • Once cleaned, all toys are sent to a central location and 1-800-GOT-JUNK? volunteers with us to distribute the toys to our designated local organizations serving children in need.

We are thrilled that ViacomCBS, AIG and Citi employees and their children have already participated in the program. Their efforts brought in over 500 gently used and cleaned plastic toys that have been donated to five organizations in California, Washington, D.C., New York and New Jersey. That translates to over 2,000 lbs. of plastic diverted from the waste stream and over 1,000 smiling children that benefit from EACH round of SHARED play! That's what we call success! Thank you ViacomCBS, AIG and Citi for recognizing the value of this program.  

The amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean yearly is astronomical. There are now islands of debris called garbage patches floating in the ocean. The “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” is one of the five biggest garbage patches. The size of this enormous patch is hard to determine exactly. Some estimates claim it can be twice the size of Texas (https://theoceancleanup.com/). Microplastics -- which are tiny plastic pieces the size of a sesame seed or smaller -- from landfill runoff or pollution and litter are building up in our water sources as well (noaa.gov). Although we cannot necessarily see them, they are impacting the ocean ecosystem in many negative ways.

Not only are microplastics a detriment to the environment, ending up mixed in with sand on our beaches and in our coral reefs, but more and more ocean life is being found with plastic in their stomachs. In a study done by Dr. Britta Denise Hardesty from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, about half the baby turtles they found dead had plastic in their stomachs (https://www.independent.co.uk/). But turtles are far from the only ocean animals ingesting plastics. Of the 210 species of commercially caught fish, every single species has been found to have plastic in their systems (https://news.stanford.edu/). These are fish that we eat, which means, consequently, that this plastic is ending up in OUR systems.

There is still much research that needs to be done concerning the effects of plastic in the human body. One study showed that humans are now yearly ingesting 39,000 to 52,000 microplastic particles (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/). This means that humans are eating about a credit card worth of plastic weekly, or 52 credit cards yearly (https://choq.com/). Another showed that ingesting microplastics makes our cells, in particular our lung cells, act abnormally, by changing their shape and slowing down their metabolic processes (https://news.fsu.edu/).

None of this bodes well for the environment nor for our own health. Second Chance Toys is just a small part of the solution. Even though Earth Month is now behind us, it is important that we take the learning and continue our efforts throughout the year... as our everyday actions are an important part of the solution.

 

Written by Jada Evans, a Second Chance Toys intern, pre-law student currently pursuing a B.A in Law Technology and Culture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Mass consumption of goods is an issue that America in particular struggles with. Ever since World War II, “a mass consumer economy seemed to make good economic sense for the nation” (dash.harvard.edu). Because of mass consumption, Americans are going through goods quickly and discarding them even quicker.

According to the Bard College Circular Value Chains Analysis, there are about 900 million toys manufactured per year. This is equivalent to 3.6 billion pounds of toys being produced by toy companies. Sadly, 1.5 billion pounds of toys are thrown away each year, which means over ⅓ of the toys being produced yearly are ending up in landfills. Many of these toys are made of plastics, which are harmful to the environment. During 2018, plastics “[accounted] for over 18 percent” of the 146.1 million tons of Municipal Solid Waste that were landfilled (epa.gov). High levels of toxic greenhouse gases are also produced by rotting trash in landfills, which contributes to global warming (forgeskiphire.co.uk).

When plastics break down they turn into microplastics, which are tiny particles of plastic that can end up in our ecosystem (nottingham.ac.uk). The World Wildlife Fund says that since plastic products can be so lightweight, they risk being blown on a windy day or washed away during heavy rain into the ocean, causing marine pollution. Up to 10 million tons of plastics make their way into the oceans every year, causing harm to all forms of aquatic life from tiny plankton, to turtles, to choral, to sharks and whales (independent.co.uk).

Most of the plastic products made are not coming from recycled plastic. But with awareness growing surrounding the devastation that plastic waste is having on the environment, we are seeing more companies starting to innovate, reusing plastics to make other products, and working towards solving the plastics problem.

Second Chance Toys applauds the entrepreneurs and forward thinking companies that are exploring new avenues of production and consumption as well as those individuals, groups and consumers that are working to keep plastics out of our landfills and oceans.   

It's April, a month in which many of us are looking for ways we can help protect the earth and our environment. One easy answer may be hiding in your very own toy closets! Simply gather all your unwanted plastic toys, make sure they are clean, no missing parts and that batteries are functioning. Find a participating recycling center nearest you, and drop your toys there. It is that easy and convenient!

Twice a year Second Chance Toys brings in volunteer teams to clean and bag the toys at our recycling center locations. Then, that same day, our partner 1-800-GOT-JUNK? will load up the bags of toys and take them to local organizations designated by Second Chance Toys. We have collected and distributed thousands of toys through this program to many deserving children. The NJ Department of Environmental Protection has recognized this program with an award and Sustainable Jersey gives towns points for participation. 

To date we have 8 participating recycling centers in Northern and Central Jersey. They are collecting toys all year long. 

Drop-off locations include Fair Lawn Recycling Center, Paramus Department of Public Works, West Orange Recycling Center, Westfield Conservation Center, Montgomery Township Recycling Center, Holmdel Township Recycling Depot, Eatontown Department of Public Works, and Middletown Recycling Center. Please check the Drop-Off Locations tab on our website for details on locations and hours of operation.

As with all our collections, we ask that you donate toys in the condition you would like for your own children. Make sure the toys are plastic and clean, no missing parts and that all pieces are attached securely to the toy so they do not separate in transit. If the toy requires batteries, they should be fully functional or include an extra set so the toy can be enjoyed. 

Help recycle the love and joy your toys can bring to others!

Earth month is here, and Second Chance Toys makes it easy to Do Good and Be Green.  Simply gather all your "outplayed" plastic toys along with those of your friends and relatives. Once you have collected 50 toys, Second Chance Toys willmatch you with a local organization that serves children in need.

Why should you do this? Consider all the plastic that ends up in our landfills and oceans. In addition to this, consider that there 15 million children living in poverty. With the Second Chance Toys award-winning donation program, you can help children and the earth at the same time!

We ask that toys are donated in the condition that would be suitable for your own children. Make sure the toys are plastic, gently used and clean. Additionally, there should be no missing parts and all pieces must be attached securely to the toy, so they do not separate in transit. If the toy requires batteries, they should be fully functional or please include an extra set so the toy can be enjoyed. 

A collection is a great way to teach your kids, early on, the importance of giving and reuse. We even provide collection tips and fun activity sheets in our Resources Section to help you along the way.

To become a collector OR to donate a minimum of 50 toys of your own, you can register here.

Once we receive your registration, we will begin the matching process with a local organization.

Let's work together!

Samantha Fallon has autism and suffers from severe anxiety. This holiday season, she

received a gently used American Girl Doll with accessories from a collection conducted
by Laura and Allie Pullaro in New York.

Sam's mom, Doris, was ecstatic to receive this much-needed gift for her daughter, not
only in the spirit of the holidays, but because this doll is helping Samantha in so many
ways.

As Doris explained, "Sam really likes the doll because she gets to role play with me or
grandma and it helps with her auditory skills."

Her mother added that the doll gives her the opportunity to continue doing some of
the things she is missing out on with remote learning for school. She gets to dress and
undress the doll. That is practice for both visually identifying clothing and how to put
them on her doll, which reinforces what she already knows with dressing herself. It also
helps her practice her sensory and motor skills by brushing the dolls hair.

Sami likes to hold her doll and sleeps with it. Her mom says it provides positive and
emotional support for her, in particular because of her severe anxiety. It also helps with her fears of Covid.

Sami has named the doll McKenna and is looking forward to getting more clothes for her so she can continue changing the outfits.

Second Chance Toys is thrilled to have provided this amazing gift of comfort and learning for the holidays.

 

 

 

In just over a week's time, PS 132, Conseylea School, went full speed ahead blasting out the word to parents that it was again that time of year to collect gently used plastic toys for children in need. The response, as has been for the past 4 years, was overwhelming! They collected nearly 1,700 toys and were able to donate to three organizations as a result. With the support of school administration and their custodial team, school parent, Danielle Sanchez, has taken on the collection each year and has not only put her heart and soul into the effort, but takes a week off from work to organize a small team of volunteer parents (Eloise Corr-Danch, David Wills, and Suzanne Puntillo) to sort out the toys by age and need for the various recipients.

With such a huge haul of toys, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? volunteered to pick up and deliver the goods to Ocean Hill School, Brooklyn Ascend School, and Rainbow Housing. The toys are now in the hands of some very deserving children who can benefit from socialization, learning and exercising their imaginations with these colorful tools of play.

Thank you PS 132. You go above and beyond every year!!

Iona Preparatory School high school students teamed up with Second Chance Toys and Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Scarsdale to run a toy collection benefiting WestCOP Head Start preschool programs throughout Westchester and Putnam counties. 

The students at Iona Prep are in their junior year and select organizations to work with as part of their junior service project. The students thought that working with an elementary school would prove to be more successful since these families with younger children have the toys!

Immaculate Heart of Mary families donated nearly 300 toys!  WooHooo!!

“By simply cleaning up a used toy we were able to put smiles on other children during this holiday season.” said Anthony T, one of the students participating in the toy collection.

The residents at the Enclave at Round Rock Senior Living community collected and cleaned nearly 250 toys and then tagged them with inspirational messages to give away this holiday season to children living at Hope Alliance in Round Rock, Texas. 

The residents were so excited to support Second Chance Toys and have the opportunity for their generation to help another generation.  "Seeing these children happy during the holiday season is their greatest wish,” shares Round Rock Sales Director Molly Davis Nedley.

The families at William J. McGinn Elementary in Scotch Plains have demonstrated an outpouring of support and generosity year after year at our annual December Toy Drive with Second Chance Toys. Students and parents look forward to this annual tradition and start setting aside unneeded toys the month before the drive. It is motivating for families to know that their donations will be a Christmas gift for needy families in Union County NJ! 

Dedicated parent volunteers post information and reminders about the upcoming one-day drive on our community social media sites and in our weekly PTA emails. Fourth grade students help make morning announcements about the upcoming drive, and they make posters to hang around the school as part of their service learning project. The two-hour toy drive begins at school drop-off, with parent and student volunteers helping to collect donations as students arrive for school. This team helps to sort, clean, and prepare the toys immediately for donation. In just a few hours, over 1,000 toys are readied and delivered to children in need in a neighboring town. 

Thank you McGinn School Community!!!

Jefferson Elementary School in Roxbury Township held a used plastic toy drive for Second Chance Toys, a non-profit organization that rescues and recycles plastic toys for children in need by donating them to community organizations while keeping them out of the landfills. 

According to Second Chance Toys, “Given the nature of plastic, the toys often show little signs of wear. When these “good-as-new” toys are thrown out, they become waste in a landfill, take up a lot of space, and do not biodegrade. Hand in hand with this wastefulness is the fact that many children in the United States own few or no toys at all. Second Chance Toys provides a waste-need solution to these problems. Unwanted plastic toys are rescued and donated to organizations that care for children in need. The toys can enhance a child’s development by helping promote socialization, creativity, emotional security, motor skills, and learning.”

Jefferson School was paired with Norwescap Head Start Preschool in Denville, NJ and two carloads of toys were delivered there on Friday, December 6th.

This recycled toy collection helps Jefferson School continue on its sustainability path as a bronze certified school with Sustainable Jersey for Schools.

Second Chance Toys was among those honored today as New Jersey’s 2019 recycling leaders. 

Receiving the award is Bronna Lipton, Executive Director of Second Chance Toys with Steve Rinaldi, NJDEP, Bureau of Sustainability.

The DEP and Association of New Jersey Recyclers co-sponsored the symposium and luncheon, where recycling awards are presented to outstanding businesses, organizations, local government agencies, and individuals who have made significant contributions to recycling in New Jersey.

“I commend these award winners for their work to promote recycling and educate their communities about the importance of diverting waste to better protect our natural resources,” Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe said. “New Jersey is consistently a national leader in recycling, and we applaud the winners for going above and beyond to help safeguard the environment.”

“We proudly honor the award winners for their focused and innovative efforts to keep our environment clean and healthy,” said Francis Steitz, Acting Assistant Commissioner for Air Quality, Energy and Sustainability. “We hope promoting their accomplishments will inspire others to adopt better recycling practices.”

Second Chance Toys is honored to recieve this prestigious award.

When approached to have their employees clean hundreds of toys collected by Westfield Conservation Center, GEP, a software company located in Clark, NJ, was eager to get involved in  this community service project. And the GEP volunteers tackled the massive collection head on, inspecting and cleaning 800 toys in a matter of hours!

Westfield Conservation Center had been collecting toys since October and quickly filled the original shed designated for the effort. Recognizing the popularity of the program, the town switched to a 20-foot container to hold the toys. By the time GEP volunteers arrived on site in August to tackle the job, the container was filled to the brim. In total, the combined efforts of Westfield Conservation Center and GEP kept 800 toys and 3,200 pounds of plastic out of landfills. That very same day, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? transported the toys to two organizations in Plainfield for distribution. With the reuse of these toys, 1,600 children are impacted socially, emotionally, physically and creatively with each round of shared play!

Westfield has started its collection efforts again and expects to fill the 20-footer soon!

For the 7th year in a row, Viacom volunteers have participated with Second Chance Toys in a toy cleaning event on Viacommunity Day. Volunteers broke all previous records with an incredible 1,750 toys, inspected, cleaned and bagged at Fair Lawn Recycling Center.


This was a tremendous effort that required everyone pitching in at a good pace to get the job done in a little over 3 hours' time.  All 25 volunteers worked as a team, taking on roles where they saw there was a need. It was really heartening to witness the camaraderie and teamwork. This is what employee engagement is all about. Many of the volunteers have been coming back year after year and Second Chance Toys is so grateful for their enthusiasm.

In total, Viacom volunteers cleaned 1,750 toys, keeping 7,000 lbs. of plastic out of landfills and enabling 5 organizations in Paterson and East Orange to receive the toys that are now impacting 3,500 children with each round of shared play. 


Team captain, Gina Planas remarked, "What an exhilarating feeling to see how much we were able to accomplish and know this would immediately benefit so many children in need and the environment!”   

A permanent collection of gently used plastic toys is going on in Chantilly, VA. Thanks to the local 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, toys are being collected at their Chantilly garage all year long. But to make these toys ready for donation, they also need to be cleaned.

In steps Booz Allen to the rescue, whose Booz Allen Cares program encourages community service and provides for local volunteers. Thanks to this wonderful program, Second Chance Toys enlisted the involvement of 8 amazing volunteers who, in 3 hours' time, cleaned 650 toys!

We are grateful to all participants for making a difference in the lives of so many children at Northern VA Family Services Head Start and for helping to keep 2,600 lbs. of plastic out of our landfills. Your impact was tremendous and we look forward to continuing the effort. 

How does Second Chance Toys keep the engines running? We depend on the generosity of individuals, like you, that not only volunteer time and effort to collecting toys, but support us with monetary donations as well. We know from your feedback that the excitement of the collections and seeing firsthand the impact made on children and the environment is the inspiration behind your participation and support.  We are most grateful for your generosity.

We are also dependent upon our valued corporate supporters, that award us grants for the programs in which they participate. They understand that it not only takes volunteers, but that funding makes it possible to carry on our mission with greater impact. 

Making Our Corporate Programs Turnkey
There is much going on behind the scenes at Second Chance Toys to keep collections and toy cleaning events both engaging and running smoothly. Our Recycling Center/Corporate Clean Team Programs, our Green Team Programs and our Corporate Toy Collection Programs require pre-planning, logistics, matching with local organizations, on site staffing, setup, cleaning materials, transport of the toys and impact reports. We are very busy working to ensure that participation is easy and fun!

"Our corporate volunteers keep coming back year after year," notes Bronna Lipton, Executive Director of Second Chance Toys. "Part of the reason is, it's fun and meaningful and they get to witness firsthand the results of their efforts."


Viacom, Citi, Vonage, Health & Wellness Partners, 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, Booz Allen Hamilton, GEP, Kidville, NJ Natural Gas, and E*TRADE all partner with us in various ways that we tailor to meet their goals. Whether it is conducting internal collections, participating in our employee engagement toy cleanings at recycling centers, holding collections in multiple offices or stores, or volunteering to transport large toy collections to local organizations, our corporate supporters are vital to keeping our mission alive. 

Getting Involved
Showing support for Second Chance Toys means aligning with both a Good and Green cause, participating in a meaningful community service project and making a real difference in our environment and the lives of those less fortunate.

If you would like to support us financially, simply click here to donate online. Please contact us at info@secondchancetoys.org if you are interested in volunteer opportunities for individuals or corporations. 

For the past five years, Booz Allen has volunteered with Second Chance Toys during Earth Month. Offices from around the country sign on to collect the toys and then volunteers work together to clean the toys before they are donated.

This year, 13 offices in 6 states plus the District of Columbia participated, and Second Chance Toys matched them with local organizations to receive their collections. Their efforts yielded a total of 1,255 toys that were kept out of landfills and put into the hands of children in need. That translates to 5,020 pounds of plastic that were kept out of the waste stream!

"It's great to see so many of our offices participating in an activity that promotes sustainability and at the same time helps children," exclaimed Elizabeth Wayt, Director Sustainability PMO, Booz Allen Hamilton.

Second Chance Toys is grateful for Booz Allen's annual participation in our Earth Month collection and for the generous grant they provide to support our programs.

Thank you all for another successful effort. 

Bradley Hills Elementary School (Bethesda, MD) partnered with Second Chance Toys as part of our annual "Bradley Beautiful" spring picnic event. This event brings the school community together and celebrates the great outdoors -- with activities including gardening, grounds clean up, recycling education, and collection of various household goods for donation / re-use and recycling (in addition to food, music, dancing and games!).  This year, we recycled lightly used plastic toys with Second Chance Toys and donated them to A Wider Circle. We also collected used sports equipment to donate to Level the Playing Field, plus used crayons and batteries for recycling.

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