With the hectic, almost chaotic, pace you’ll probably be keeping this holiday season, it’s important to slow down for a minute and remember there are families who are not as fortunate. Given the economic climate over the last few years, more families than ever are barely hanging on. A great way to give back to the community and a good reason to clear out some clutter, is to donate your children’s toys that over the years have been passed up for the next best thing. If you have plastic toys in working condition that aren’t missing parts, there is a great organization anxiously waiting to take them off your hands.
Second Chance Toys is a nonprofit organization founded by Sasha Lipton while she was a high school student in 2006. Yes, a high school student. While out for a drive with her mom Bronna in their New Jersey neighborhood, she noticed a lot of toys that had been put out for garbage pickup. She knew something had to be done. Those toys needed to be rescued and given a new home. So with her mother’s help, they loaded up their SUV and brought them back to their basement. The next day, she started making calls to various local charities, but no one took her seriously. She persisted, and “no” eventually turned to “yes.” Cut to 2010, and Second Chance Toys has grown by leaps and bounds. Now with affiliates in Pennsylvania, New York City, Long Island, Illinois, and even Sydney Australia, this holiday season is promising to be their most successful to date. Their collection goal is 8000 toys, which would bring their all time total to almost 60,000.
If that isn’t enough to get you in the giving spirit, this heartwarming facet of their story definitely will. When 1-800-Got-Junk, a junk removal company that has serviced the tri-state and surrounding areas since 1989, heard about what Sasha was doing, they decided to donate their trucks, labor, and gas in order to pick up the donated toys from the various toy drive sites and deliver them to the local charities waiting to give them a second home. All of it for free. This unheard of generosity extends to all the Second Chance Toys affiliates, and continues today. In a world where even free has a price, it’s refreshing to see in this case, free really is free.
To do your part in helping to make the holidays happy for Queens’ families in need, collect whatever clean, plastic toys you have at home, making sure they have all the necessary parts and fresh batteries, and bring them to a toy drive near you. You can even get your neighbors and friends involved, asking for them to rummage through their things for toys to donate.
Starting next week, two Investors Savings Bank branches in Astoria will be accepting toys on behalf of Second Chance Toys. From November 27th – December 6th, you can drop them off at either 35-02 Broadway or 23-02 31st Street in Astoria. The toys collected will then be donated to Homes for the Homeless in Queens.
Start the season of giving off right by giving to those who need it most. For more information on Second Chance Toys, including drop off dates and locations, visit www.secondchancetoys.org. If while searching for toys you come across a lot more junk than you realized you had, visit www.secondchancetoys.org to rid yourself of the clutter.