Free Toys for Kids
Raising children can be expensive and the cost of raising children is only magnified if you are on a low income. Baby items, clothes, food, childcare are essential costs and many families find little cash left over for non-essential items like toys.
Fortunately there are hundreds of organizations that specifically focus on providing free toys for kids throughout the country.
Whilst many organizations focus on free toys during the Christmas period, there are still many that provide items throughout the year to cater for different occasions like birthdays.
How to Apply for Free Toys
Every organization that provides free toys has its own application process and priority system. Eligibility generally consists of:
- Child gender
- In some cases children’s name
- Your contact details
What Organization to Choose (contact)
A great deal will depend on your location and situation. Metro areas generally have more options as there are larger populations. The quickest way to find the right organization to contact is via local agencies such as community action agencies, churches or community centers. They generally have relationships with different charities and aid services and can assist you.
Alternatively, visit the websites of any of the below organizations that provide free toys and contact them directly. Most will be able to assist you directly or put you in contact with their local partners who may be able to assist.
Popular Organizations and Programs That Provide Free Toys for Children
Toy Industry Foundation – This non-profit has provided more than 17 million toys to different local charities over the last 15+ years. They receive new toys from hundreds of businesses each year to provide for those in need.
Toys R Us – Located in larger cities throughout the states, they are a sponsors of many charitable programs, collecting and donating toys for needy kids. Contact your local Toys R Us and ask them about any local programs that they may be involved in and if they can assist with free toys.
Also look into the Geoffreys Birthday Club.
Toys for Tots – This is a long running program provide by the United States Marine Corp. They have many sponsors including Toys R Us, Babys R Us, Hallmark, Disney, Bendon, Macys and many more. They generally provide toys for kids up to the age of 12 although some locations support ages up to 16. Their service is primarily for Christmas gifts but different locations may operate outside of this period as well.
Salvation Army – A well know and reputable organization throughout the world. Similar to Toys for Tots, the Salvation’s program is generally focused on the Christmas period but certain office may participate in different programs and campaigns which can provide gifts outside of the holiday season.
Local Charities – Contact your local charity to see what types of services they may provide. They often will provide gifts themselves or put you in contact with other local or national services which can assist.
Churches – There are thousands of churches throughout the US and they are pillar to the community assisting in so many ways. Similar to most other non-profits, the church has a vast network of partners to assist across most situations. Contact your local church to learn about services that they may provide in terms of free toys.
Online Classifieds – Sites like Gumtree allow people to post items online for free. Numerous families post items for people to collect for free. Not all items will be new, but will generally be in great shape.
Toy Tester – Many toy companies like to test items before taking them to market. They will pay or provide free toys for you kids to help them test/play with new toys. To find these opportunities, follow toy companies on social media and be on the lookout for competitions or requests. You can also visit different toy company websites to look for information on toy testing or contact them directly and get on their database.
The above is just a small sample of national organizations that help provide free toys for kids. There are literally thousands of other reginal based non-profits that ensure all kids have the ability to receive toys.
Frequently Asked Questions about Toys
Are free toys new? This depends on the organization and the program. In many cases the toys are new. If the toys are not new, they may be refurbished and in great condition. Most charities will not accept broken toys or toys missing parts.
How long does it take to receive a toy? This is entirely up to the organization you are dealing with. In some cases it can be in the same day you apply if you are at the location of the non-profit. In other cases it may be a couple of days or weeks.
Can I apply to multiple organizations? With so many children in need of support, its best to stick to one organization. Keep in mind that many organizations share databases and may be able to detect those abusing the generosity of these businesses.
Do I need to donate something to receive a toy? The short answer is no. Although if you have items that you would like to donate, it can go a long way in helping another family.
Are free toys good quality? Absolutely, many of the toys may be donated directly from the toy companies themselves. Most non-profits have strict donation guidelines and do a great job in ensuring they receive quality items.
This was in part driven by extraordinary garbage bills many non-profits were receiving. Many were treating non-profits as dumping grounds, donating items that could not be sold or passed on. This fundamentally changed how non-profits accepted donations. Ensuring quality items and reducing their rubbish bill.
As mentioned, most non-profits have vast networks to help low income families or those in need with a range of financial and support services. Free toys for kids is just a small but important component as every child deserves toys to play with and enjoy.
Please provide any other national toy programs for kids in the comments section.