Every day, children get stuck in challenging situations. Sometimes, something as little as a new stuffed animal can make a terrible situation a bit more bearable. The MOMS Club of of Canyon Country, CA saw this need and decided they wanted to host a stuffed animal drive. They started their search for a charity that would accept stuffed animals and found SAFE (Stuffed Animals For Emergencies).

The donation drive started in October at the chapter’s open house and continued through Thanksgiving. Animals were collected at a few members’ houses to prevent any one member’s house from being completely overrun by stuffed animals. Members were encouraged to donate unwanted stuffed animals (new or gentle used) and to publicize the event to friends and family. They also posted information on their website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed to advertise..

At the end of the drive, they had a party to pool all the toys and sort through them to make sure that they met SAFE’s guidelines. Anything in good condition that did not meet guidelines (e.g. containing batteries) was donated to a local thrift store. In the end, they had 287 stuffed animals to donate to SAFE. They arranged with SAFE to drop off the stuffed animals at their collection location.
Overall, it was a really great experience! Chapter members, friends and family were excited to participate because used stuffed animals can often be difficult to resell or donate, and timing it before the holidays made it a great time to de-clutter and donate before the holiday rush. Plus, it was for a really great cause! Mid-way through the drive, they found out that their own local domestic violence center has had toys donated periodically from SAFE for children in the emergency shelter, so that made it feel even more worthwhile of a venture.

Their recommendation for any other chapter’s considering a similar fundraiser would be to find a way to get collection bins in public places so you can increase participation without having to give out personal information of the members.