By Jeff Wagner


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – If your kids unwrapped new gifts this holiday season, there’s a good chance they’re already ignoring their old ones. If you’re willing to donate them, several organizations are ready and waiting to give those used toys a new home.

Tucked away in the back of Special Floral in North St. Paul, the spirit of giving is in bloom all year.

“I think the word is out that we accept stuffed animals,” Norma Worm said with a laugh. She and Dawn Peterson co-founded The Toy Shelf.

“Our purpose is to provide free toys to those in need,” she said.

The shelves share the same variety of a typical toy store with dolls, teddy bears, action figures and more.

Two days a week, families are allowed to come in and “shop” without paying a dime.

“It’s fun. The kids, ‘Can I really have this? Can I have something else?’” said Worm.

While the kids feel excitement it can be humbling for parents.

“I remember one [parent] said ‘I never had to do this before,’ and so he was very appreciative as is all of them,” said Peterson.

It’s why they’re always looking for donations to keep their store stocked, just like Sharing and Caring Hands in downtown Minneapolis.

The charity accepts used toys and clothes, then gives them to the more than 700 homeless children staying at Mary’s Place, a family shelter nearby.

“You see this smile on my face? That’s what Mary wants to see when she gives them kids a toy on Christmas,” said Phillip Wylie, a staff member at the charity. “Parents can’t afford [toys], she wants to see that smile to give them joy to show them that people do care in this world.”

“One of the things we hear all the time here is, ‘It’s nice to have a place to give our toys where we know you’re not going to sell them, where they’re going to go to children in need,'” Worm said.

In order to shop at The Toy Shelf, a person must show a proof of address with a zip code of 55109, 55119 or 55128.

The organization accepts donations at Specialty Floral at 2553 East Seventh Street in North St. Paul, as well as North St. Paul City Hall, Oakdale City Hall and the Oakdale Recreation – Discovery Center.

For more information on when the Toy Shelf Will be open, click here.

Sharing and Caring Hands accepts donations Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to noon. The warehouse is located at 525 North Seventh Street in Minneapolis.

Below is a list of other organizations that accept used toys and other items in and around the Twin Cities:

New Life Family Services (blankets, clothes, toys, books, M-F, 9-5)

1515 East 66th Street
Richfield, MN   55423
612-866-7643

Minnetonka Life Care Centers, Inc. (certain items, call ahead)

1615 Mainstreet
Hopkins, MN    55343
952-938–4496

Tapestry Pregnancy & Family Resource Center (9-3 M-Th, closed Tuesdays, call ahead for specific donations they are accepting)

4105 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN   55407
612-823-0301

CEAP (new and gently used clothing)

6840 78th Avenue North
Brooklyn Park, MN   55445
763-566-9600

CROSS (clothing and household items, clean, gently used, smaller than a microwave, school supplies)

12915 Weinand Circle
Rogers, MN   55374

Interfaith Outreach (clothing, gently used toys, books, school supplies)

1605 County Rd 101
Plymouth, MN 55447
763-489-7500

People Serving People (career clothes only, news toys, new or used books; donations accepted M-F from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

614 South Third Street
Minneapolis, MN   55415
612-332-4500

PRISM (new and gently used infants and children’s clothing; new or used books, no used toys or baby furniture such as cribs; M 9-7,T-Th, 9-4)

730 Florida Avenue South
Golden Valley, MN   55426
763-529-1350

PROP (school supplies, food)

14700 Martin Drive
Eden Prairie, MN
952-937-9120

Sabathani Community Center (new or gently used children’s clothes)

310 East 38th Street
Minneapolis, MN   55409
612-827-5981

Arc Value Village (Donate gently used clothing & household items. Stores are open 7 days a week. You can donate clothing 24/7 at one of Arc’s Blue Bins across the metro area.)
10546 France Ave S
Bloomington, MN 55431
952-818-8708

6528 Penn Ave S
Richfield, MN 55423
612-861-9550

1650 White Bear Ave N
Saint Paul, MN 55106
651-788-8300

6330 Brooklyn Blvd
Brooklyn Center, MN 55429
763-503-3534

2751 Winnetka Ave N
New Hope, MN 55427
763-544-0006

STEP (Saint Louis Park Emergency Program)

6812 w. Lake Street
Saint Louis Park, MN 55426
952-925-4898

Call to find when accepting donations.  Accepts new or gently used clothing and linens.

Joseph’s Coat (Catholic Charities) (open for donations T, Th 9:00am-2:00pm, call ahead for large donations)

Accepts gently used clothing, children’s toys, games, and books.  Accepts household items including new or gently used blankets.  Also accepts small appliances.

651-291-2472.
Address:
1107 West 7th Street
St. Paul, MN 55102

Wakota Life Care Centers in West St Paul, Little Canada, East St Paul, Highland, Apple Valley, Hastings, Woodbury, North Minneapolis, Dinkytown, Hopkins, Osseo, Forest Lake and Lindstrom accept cribs (no drop- down sides), infant clothing (especially boys 12 month – 3T) and strollers. Call 651-457-1195.

Birthright in St Paul accepts donations of  infant clothing (0 – 3T), baby toys and strollers. Call 651-646-7033.

St Vincent De Paul Thrift Stores accepts furniture, sofas, mattresses, clothing, household goods, books. Must be in good condition. Call 651-602-0478 or visit www.svdpmpls.org for pick-up within 694/94 loop.

Steeple People Surplus Store is an outreach project of Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church located at the intersection of Lyndale and Franklin. Call 612-871-8305 to schedule pick-up your quality used furniture.

Jeff Wagner

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