The easy way to clear toy clutter

While making room for new holiday toys, consider donating your child’s gently used toys to needy children through Toy Box Connection. A nonprofit located in Orland Park, TBC collects toys and redistributes them to organizations that give toys to kids who might not get any otherwise.

TBC makes donating toys easy. Simply e-mail to arrange a pick-up time for your toys. Leave the toys in boxes labeled"Toy Box Connection” on your doorstop and a TBC representative will pick them up. You don’t even have to be home, says CEO Michelle Maxia.

TBC accepts almost all toys for all ages. The only exceptions are stuffed animals, which are challenging to clean, and broken or incomplete toys.

“My rule of thumb for

parents is,‘when in doubt, throw it out.’ There’s nothing worse than having a child receive a puzzle missing pieces or receive a game missing pieces,” Maxia says.

Maxia also encourages parents to network with their neighbors. Neighborhood families can arrange to have all their toys picked up at one convenient location.

Once they reach the warehouse, the toys are inspected by volunteers. Then they’re cleaned, sorted by age and gender, boxed and delivered directly to nonprofit organizations that give toys to disadvantaged kids. Some of the receiving organizations include Mooseheart Child City and School Inc., The Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation, The Ronald McDonald House and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Since its launch in June, TBC has already connected 4,000 toys to nonprofit organizations, Maxia says, and she expects an even larger response as the word spreads.

“How much more do we in Illinois have to recycle and pass on to children who have nothing?” Maxia says."It is remarkable what will happen here if people continue to respond the way they’ve been responding.”

Visit www.toy for more information.

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