Does Salvation Army Take Stuffed Animals?

Introduction – Does Salvation Army Take Stuffed Animals

The short answer is yes – the long answer is as long as the toys are “gently used and new“. Read more to find out.

ShrinkThatFootprint advocates for zero-waste living, for example recycling and upcycling, as a way to avoid the production carbon costs of making new things. Giving old toys away, especially those your own children have outgrown, is a great way to get value out of that approach.

does salvation army take stuffed animals
Stuffed animals are super popular toys and prized for their “personality” more than whether they are new or not

Donating to a charitable organization is one viable option, not only reducing waste but also bringing joy and comfort to another child. You can even donate your used stuffed animals to charity.

This leads to the question: Does the Salvation Army accept stuffed animal donations? This article explores this query in depth, providing key insights and guidelines on donating used stuffed animals to the Salvation Army and other similar organizations.

Does Salvation Army Take Stuffed Animals – Think “Gently Used And New”

The key is “gently used and new”. The Salvation Army has standards for their clientele and need to avoid endangering their health by passing them unsanitary items.

Regarding stuffed animals, this organization has been collecting them for over 100 years. They are still one of their most popular items. Every year, millions of people donate stuffed animals to the Salvation Army.

In general, stuffed animals seem to be accepted. The Salvation Army accepts all types of stuffed animals, from teddy bears to dolls to sock monkeys.

They even accept hand-made stuffies. All the donated stuffed animals are given to children in need, whether they are sick, displaced, or impoverished. We have a few caveats and recommendations to check a few things before hauling your stuff to the centers.

Check Salvation Army Recommendations Online

Next we suggest you check online whether you think they will take your used stuffed animals. There are guidelines for what are acceptable and what it isn’t.

For the Western United States, a list of what’s acceptable is found on this page of what Salvation Army accepts and doesn’t accepts. Even for the things they accept, they ask for “gently used and new” – so your stuffed animal should be in “gently used” condition or even better, completely new.

“Gently used” isn’t well-defined, so you may end up going there and ultimately the staff will decide whether they’re able to take on something or not. A list of the accepted items are listed below from the Salvation Army website for your convenience:

GENTLY USED AND NEW DONATED GOODS (from Salvation Army website)

  • Antiques & Rare Items
  • Bedding and Linens
  • Bikes, Skateboards, and Scooters
  • Books and Textbooks
  • Clothing
  • Furniture (smaller items: Chairs / Upholstered Chairs, Chest, Coffee/End Tables, Secretary Desk)
  • Home D├ęcor
  • Housewares and Small Home Appliances
  • Jewelry
  • Movies, Music, and Media
  • Purses, Bags, and Luggage
  • Shoes
  • Sofas (see unacceptable types below)
  • Sporting Goods
  • Tools
  • Toys and Games – here Salvation Army explicitly says they take toys
  • Trunks

What does the Salvation Army do with all these stuffed animals? The Salvation Army is a religious organization that does many things for the community. They are most commonly known for their thrift stores, bell ringers during the holiday season, and Soup Kitchens.

People might not know that the Salvation Army also helps provide children with toys during the Christmas season. One way they do this is by collecting donated stuffed animals and giving them to needy children. This program provides children with a new toy and helps spread cheer and joy during the holiday season.

According to the site your donations are tax deductible. We can’t give tax advice but what we generally do is save a receipt because that will let us report the amounts correctly and also let us keep evidence of the donation.

Check Your Local Drop-Off Center Here

First we suggest you find out what your local center accepts and whether they have policies. Go to this link: and enter your zip code. You’ll be presented with a list of emails or phone numbers and locations. Try emailing and calling first. You may or may not get a response depending on who’s in charge of communications! As the last resort, go to the site to find out whether they take stuffed animals.

Here’s a screen cap of the Salvation Army donation site where you will be able to find out addresses and contact info for drop off of stuffed animals (first from left), and schedule for pick-ups of stuffed animals (second from left).

In General How To Donate Stuffed Animals To Charities

If you have a stuffed animal you no longer want or need; you can donate it to a charity. Several charities accept donated stuffed animals, and they will put the stuffed animal to good use. Here are some tips on how to donate a stuffed animal to a charity:

Do Your Research: 

Many charities accept donated stuffed animals, so it is important to research and choose a charity you feel comfortable with. Try to find a charity that has a cause that you care about.

Check The Condition Of The Stuffed Animal: 

Before donating your stuffed animal, make sure to check its condition. The stuffed animal should be clean and free of any holes or tears. Make sure that the animal has all of its stuffing intact. Otherwise, it may not be able to be used by another child.

Contact The Charity: 

Once you have chosen a charity, contact them and ask about their process for donating stuffed animals. Some charities may have specific requirements, so it is important to know what they need before you proceed.

Clean The Stuffed Animal: 

Before you donate the stuffed animal, make sure to clean it thoroughly. This will help ensure the charity can put the stuffed animal to good use. A simple surface cleaning with a damp cloth will suffice most of the time.

Pack The Stuffed Animal Securely: 

When you are ready to donate the stuffed animal, pack it securely, so it doesn’t get damaged in transit. Make sure to include a note with your contact information in case the charity has any questions.

Send The Stuffed Animal: 

Once you have packed the stuffed animal, send it to the charity of your choice. You can mention in your note if you would like a receipt for tax purposes. They will be grateful for your donation!

Do Toys For Tots Accept Used Stuffed Animals?

The simple answer is no. Toys for tots specifically collects new, unwrapped toys during the holiday season each year. Used stuffed animals do not fit these criteria. This does not mean that you cannot donate new stuffed animals. Also your old stuffed animals could go to other charities, hospitals, senior centers, and women’s shelters would love to have new or gently used stuffed animals to give to children and adults who are going through a tough time. So, if you have some extra stuffed animals, consider donating them to one of these worthy causes.

does salvation army take stuffed animals
Other institutions take used stuffed animal gifts

Where Can You Donate Your Used Stuffies?

Most people have a few stuffed animals to which they’ve grown attached over the years. But what do you do with them when you no longer want them? Thankfully, there are a few different options for donating used stuffies.

First option is to donate them to a local children’s hospital or cancer center. The children who are patients at these facilities often get very bored and would love to have a new stuffed animal to cuddle with.

Second option is to donate them to a local animal shelter. Many of the animals at these shelters are anxious and stressed, and a stuffed animal can provide them with some much-needed comfort.

Third option, you could donate your used stuffies to a local thrift store. These stores typically sell items for very cheap, so your donation could help someone in need who can’t afford to buy new toys.

Fourth option is to donate to another renowned organization Goodwill that happily accepts gently used stuffed animals as donations. These items are then sold in Goodwill stores across the nation, with proceeds going towards their mission of providing job training, employment placement services, and other community-based programs for people facing employment challenges.

Wrapping up

Stuffed animals suit kids of all ages, perhaps especially young ones from 2 to 5

Stuffed animals make great gifts for kids of all ages. They can be used as comfort objects or fun toys to play with. It can be hard to get rid of a stuffed animal, even when it’s no longer your child’s favorite. But when you do, it’s important to remember that many other children out there would love to have that same stuffed animal.

There are plenty of places that accept donations of used stuffed animals. You can check with your local humane society or animal shelter to see if they need them. You can also contact your local Salvation Army or Goodwill to inquire about donating your used stuffed animals.

In most cases, the Salvation Army and Goodwill will accept any stuffed animal in good condition. It should be clean and free of any holes or tears. It’s also important to ensure the animal has all its stuffing intact. Otherwise, it may not be able to be used by another child. And that’s it! Donating a stuffed animal to a charity is a great way to declutter your home and help those in need. So, next time you are looking to get rid of a stuffed animal, consider donating it to a worthy cause.

Staff Writer
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