Are the kids back in school? Time to go through their old toys and donate the ones they don’t play with any more! For years I have done this after winter break because if your kids are anything like mine, they don’t want to let go of anything. So if you don’t want your home to look like an ugly episode of Hoarders, we have lots of places in Lake County to give away those used toys.
Where to Donate Toys in Lake County
Toys, Stuffed Animals, Games, Books, etc.
Charities that run thrift stores will take toys, books, games, and even stuffed animals. They sell these items in their stores to raise money that they put back into their programs. Locally you can give at:
Goodwill – Donation sites are in Lake Zurich, Libertyville, McHenry, Mundelein and Round Lake Beach.
Salvation Army – Donations sites are in Bannockburn, Crystal Lake, Gurnee, McHenry, Mundelein, Waukegan, and Zion. Home pick-up is also available.
ORT Resale – Downtown Highland Park.
New Life Resale & Donation Center – Locations in Grayslake and Wauconda.
Sparrow’s Nest – Donation sites located in McHenry, Mundelein, Palatine, Third Lake and Woodstock.
Cedar Chest Thrift Shop – Thrift shop located at Lambs Farm in Libertyville.
God’s Will Resale Shop – St. Ignacious Church in Antioch.
Pink Door Thrift Shop – Thrift Shop located in McHenry that supports the charitable giving of the Centegra Health System Auxiliary. They don’t have a website, so visit their Facebook page for details.
St.Vincent De Paul Thrift Store – St. Vincent De Paul is a thrift store in Libertyville. Proceeds support their food pantries and emergency voucher programs for the needy. The store accepts toys, but not stuffed animals.
House of Hope Resale – A thrift store in Lake Zurich that all proceeds benefit Project Hope for local families. Donations are accepted any time during business hours.
Other organizations that will accept donated toys and give them to people in need:
United Way of Lake County – United Way provides support and services to low-income families in Lake County. New and gently used toys and books are accepted. Contact Sara Martinez at (847) 775-1026 or Sara.Martinez@uwlakeco.org to make arrangements to donate. United Way of Lake County also maintains Find Help Lake County which has wish lists of partner organizations.
Boys and Girls Club of Lake County – The Boys and Girls Club has very specific wish lists that change over time. Currently they are looking for electronic toys, headphones, beanbag chairs, basketballs, Play-Doh, LEGO, and Leap Pads.
Child Link – ChildLink offers services for children in foster care across the state of Illinois. Needs vary by location as well as time of year so contact them at their website or through Zealous Good.
Community Care Center at The Chapel
25270 W. IL Route 60., Grayslake
The Community Care Center is a ministry of The Chapel that provides food, clothing, toys and personal items to those in need. They are open on Saturdays and Wednesdays from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Please contact Jen Moran at email@example.com before you plan to donate.
New Hope Community Closet at New Hope Christian Community Church
*Not accepting donations, however check back throughout the year as their needs may change *
1020 W. Rollins Rd., Round Lake Heights
They accept donations throughout the year for their Community Closet. The Community Closet is a place where families can shop free of charge for clothing, toys, and home goods. The closet opens up to the public four times per year. Follow on Facebook for current needs and drop of dates, but currently they are not accepting donations (but that will most likely change in the future).
745 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville
Maristella provides services and classes that promote self-sufficiency in homeless women and children in Lake County. To donate toys, please call (847) 367-5360 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pregnancy Counseling Center
300 N. Seymour Ave, Suite C, Mundelein
The group offers counseling and others services, as well as free baby and clothing items to mothers in need of help. Items and services are provided to mothers free of charge and are tax-deductible for donors. You can drop off items on Tuesdays from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m.– 12:00 p.m. and Thursday from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Please call (847) 949-4433 for more information.
PADS Lake County
Individual PADS hosting sites may be interested in taking toys and books that the children who are staying with them can use. Contact your local site to confirm. You can also contact them at email@example.com with the items you have available before donating them.
Cradles to Crayons– This charity creates care packages for local children in need and they can use your toy and book donations. Head to the website to see what items they accept. The closest drop off location is located at 530 Bernard Dr. Buffalo Grove. They have other sites all over Chicagoland as well as a “giving factory” where you can donate your time to help create the care packs.
Other places to consider:
- Local Libraries: Indian Trails Library has a quarterly puzzle swap where you can swap out puzzles with other families. Fremont Public Library also always accepts Lego donations of all sizes.
- Check with your local church and/or preschool many times gently used toys will be used in classrooms.
- Lurie Children’s Hospital accepts recently purchased, unwrapped toys to give to the sick children and for the playroom’s at the hospital. To arrange or schedule a donation delivery, and if you have questions, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Many local churches and community organizations hold rummage sales in spring and summer and the proceeds go back into the church. They take donations of all kinds (even stuffed animals). And many of these churches accept donations even if you are a non-parishioner, so keep your eyes open for any accepting donations.
- Contact your local police and fire departments, sometimes they keep used stuffed animals on hand for children in accidents or crises.
- Local animal shelters may also be able and willing to take used stuffed animals as well.
- Cornerstone Community Outreach, Chicago. While not in Lake County, it is a great organization that provides items to the homeless of Chicago. Items are distributed in their Free Store, which opens on Friday mornings to anyone in need. Items can be mailed to or dropped off at 4628 N. Clifton Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640.
- Resell and get the money–You can try to resell the items to Green Kids Resale or a consignment sale. They accept gently used toys and either mail you a check or give store credit.
Where to donate Books:
18 N. County Street, 1st Floor, Waukegan
Kids’ Korner provides a safe and enjoyable waiting area for children who are in the Lake County Courthouse to testify in court or whose parents or guardians are conducting court business. It’s a free service to children ages 2-12. New and gently used books are collected year round, as every child takes home a book when they visit to encourage reading and happiness. They also collect new stuffed animals for their Christmas program every fall.
Bernie’s Book Bank
917 N. Shore Dr., Lake Bluff
Bernie’s Book Bank collects, processes and distributes quality new and gently used children’s books to significantly increase book ownership among at-risk infants, toddlers and school-age children throughout Chicagoland.
Do you know of a location to donate toys in the Lake County area? Tell us in the comments and we will update this information.