Where to Donate Toys in Lake County

Give Back

Even with a modest pile of Christmas gifts, when you have four children ranging from preschool to high school the house seems to shrink three sizes over the holidays. I look forward to every January when the kids go back to school and I can start my secret mission to give toys new homes without my children noticing. It kills me to see stuff sit on the shelf and be ignored when it could be loved, used and played with somewhere else.  Here are the places I have found in (and around) Lake County that will take toys and more.

Where to Donate Kid Stuff in Lake County

What do you want to donate:
Toys & Games | Books | Stuffed Animals

donate toys lake county, where to donate stuffed animals

Where to Donate Toys & Games in Lake County

Charities that operate a thrift store will take toys, books, games, and some will take stuffed animals. They sell these items in their stores to raise money that they put back into their programs. Locally you can donate at:

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 [email protected] to make arrangements. United Way of Lake County also maintains the Find Help Lake County site which houses wishlists from partner organizations. Some that are in need:

Boys & Girls Club of Lake County
While the Boys & Girls Club will not take all your toys, if you have older kids that have outgrown toys or are moving on to college you may have items they are looking for. They need educational games and toys i.e. Erector Sets, Lincoln Logs, playdoh as well as specific video game system controllers and certain games. See their wish list for specific items.

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.

ChildLink
ChildLink services children in foster care across the state of Illinois. Needs vary by location and time of year, contact them at their website.

Community Care Center at the Chapel
Located at 25270 W. Hwy 60 in Grayslake at The Stadium.
Toys and clothes can be dropped off 24/7 at the back entrance of the Stadium, located in the west parking lot of the Chapel Grayslake Campus.

New Hope Community Closet at Living Hope Church
Located in Round Lake Heights (1020 W. Rollins Rd.), the purpose of the community closet is to provide “a place where families and those of the surrounding community can shop for clothes, toys and home goods at no charge to them.” The community Closet opens quarterly, but they require and accept donations year-round. Gently used clothing and toy donations are needed; they do not accept stuffed animals. Follow them on Facebook for current needs and drop of dates.

Pregnancy & Life Resources
The center offers counseling and other services as well as free baby and clothing items to mothers in need of assistance. Items can be dropped off at their Mundelein Location (300 N. Seymour Ave, Suite C.) see their Facebook page for current hours. Items and services are provided to mothers free of charge and are tax-deductible for donors. Contact them at 847-949-4433 for more information.

Cradles to Crayons
Drop-off locations in Buffalo Grove, Vernon Hills, Highland Park, and Deerfield.
Cradles to Crayons create KidPacks that are hand-selected with care to meet a local boy or girl’s specific need. They accept high-quality gently-used donation of toys and books for newborn to age 12. See their list of most needed items.

The Clothes Horse at Trinity
The CLothes Horse provides clothes, toys, and food free of charge to graduate students and their families. Donations can be dropped off at the Deerfield Campus on Tuesday and Thursday.

GiveNKind
They accept quality items and place them with local charities that needed them. You need to fill out their online form and they will match you with a need. Items must be clean, contain all pieces and be in working condition. If you wouldn’t buy it at a garage sale they can’t place it.

Other places to consider:

  • Puzzles can be swapped at Indian Trails Public Library’s quarterly puzzle swaps (or you can plan one with friends!),
  • Check with your local church and or preschool many times gently used toys can be used in classrooms or nurseries, and the

Where to Donate Books in Lake County

United Way of Lake County
United Way provides support and services to low-income families in Lake County. New and gently-used books for pre-k through 5th grade are accepted as well as school supplies. Contact Sara Martinez at (847) 775-1026 or [email protected] to make arrangements. United Way of Lake County also maintains the Find Help Lake County site which houses wishlists from partner organizations.

Bernie’s Book Bank
Bernie’s accepts all new and gently used children’s books for birth through the 6th-grade level. Books can be dropped off at Bern’s Book Bank in Lake Forest (917 North Shore Dr) or any Wintrust Bank location.

Kids’ Korner at the Lake County Courthouse 
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. They collect new and gently used books year-round, as every child takes home a book when they visit. They also collect new stuffed animals for their Christmas Program every fall.

Cradles to Crayons
Drop-off locations in Buffalo Grove, Vernon Hills, Highland Park, and Deerfield.
Cradles to Crayons create KidPacks that are hand-selected with care to meet a local boy or girl’s specific need. They accept high-quality gently-used donation of toys and books for newborn to age 12. They need new or like-new baby board books, as well as gently used books for children through age 12. See their list of most needed items.

Twice as Nice Mother & Child
Twice as Nice provides help and hope to families in crisis by distributing diapers and other items free of charge. They collect gently used children’s books at their Waukegan office Monday through Friday by appointment.

Where to Donate Stuffed Animals in Lake County

Stuffed animals that are not new are really hard to find homes for! According to readers, some hospitals will take them if they are able to be sterilized (no plastic parts!) Like new stuffed animals are accepted by Pregnancy & Life Resources, Chapel Community Cares (details under Toys) and some PADS Locations, and occasionally ChildLink. Other ideas:

  • Contact your local police and fire departments, sometimes they keep them on hand for children in accidents or crises.
  • Small animals can be saved up to be used in Christmas shoeboxes.
  • Local animal shelters may also be able and willing to take them.

Kids’ Korner at the Lake County Courthouse 
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. They collect new stuffed animals for their Christmas Program every fall.

Give your toys new life and help brightens a child’s day in the process!

Do you know of a location to donate Toys or (especially) Stuffed Animals in the Lake County area? Tell us in the comments and we will update!

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About Melissa Haak 859 Articles
Melissa is mom to 4. She used to dream of traveling the world, now she dreams of a clean kitchen. She can be found on most social media sites as @PBinmyHair because with this much hair and four kids, you're bound to find something in it.

1 Comment

  1. We love donating books to Bernie’s Book Bank and then also volunteering as a family sorting, labeling & bagging books for needy kids.

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