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Guest blog post from Madeline Cohen of Kimco Realty:

This year, Earth Day brought Kimco the chance to give back — not only to the environment, but to children in need. Every year, perfectly usable but unwanted plastic toys are forgotten or thrown into landfills, where they take up space and don’t biodegrade. While they are in good working condition and show little sign of wear, they get tossed out, almost always in ways that do harm to the planet.

To help lessen this practice by donating these items to underprivileged children, Kimco partnered with Second Chance Toys, a non-profit which helps to save plastic toys from landfills and give them a better purpose, providing a mutually beneficial waste-need solution. Our toys went to Manhasset Head Start, another non-profit dedicated to ensuring that all at-risk children have access to a model of support that will help the child, their family, and the community as a whole.

Studies have shown that toys inspire play, which is critical to healthy development in children. Yet many go without these childhood staples, with 12.5 million children in the United States under the age of six living in low-income families, and almost a quarter of those living in poverty. Since 2006, Second Chance Toys has helped save over 200,000 plastic toys from filling landfills, instead finding them new homes with children who will benefit from them.

From April 12 to April 18, Kimco collected, cleaned, and added another 80 toys to that total — a great way to celebrate Earth Day, protect the environment, and help out those in need. Thanks to all who participated in this good cause!

Please help and join Kidville in keeping plastic toys from landfills by donating them to children in need.

Simply share a photo of your child with their favorite toy and invite friends to join in using #ToyRescue. For every photo shared, one toy will be donated to a deserving child!

Click here to add your photo.

 

From April 17th - 23rd you can also drop off your gently used plastic toys at participating Kidville locations.

Earth Day will soon be upon us. Many are already thinking of ways to participate and help our environment. Kathryn Garcia, Commissioner, New York City Department of Sanitation, underscores the importance of reuse and why we should think twice before simply tossing things out.  

As many of you know, donation and reuse play an important role within the Department of Sanitation’s Zero Waste plan. Each day, New Yorkers throw more than 12,000 tons of material; however, within those trash bags we know there are items that have value. New Yorkers who donate and reuse those items instead of discarding them greatly reduce waste, conserve resources and save money—all while helping provide jobs and human services to fellow residents.

DonateNYC and reuse is an essential part of NYC’s 0X30 initiative, helping us reach the goal of sending zero waste to landfills by 2030. To reduce the amount of usable items that end up in landfills, programs such as donateNYC help connect residents looking to give away goods, with nonprofits like Second Chance Toys, looking to take used items. Toys are not always an easy item to donate, as many organizations do not accept them. However, with their unique model, Second Chance Toys fills an important gap within our local donations and reuse community. Through innovative partnerships with local businesses, Second Chance Toys has diverted more than 250,000 plastic toys from landfills since their inception, leading to countless smiles on the faces of children.

Earth Week is approaching, which of course means Second Chance Toys is once again gearing up for another successful spring toy drive. I would like thank them for their important work and remind New Yorkers that donating goods to donateNYC nonprofit partners like Second Chance Toys not only helps us meet our Zero Waste goals, but does so in the spirit of our shared commitment to service the communities in which we live and work every day.

Kathryn Garcia, Commissioner

New York City Department of Sanitation  

It was not until a delivery of Second Chance Toys to the Brownsville section of Brooklyn this past holiday, that the children at Ascend Charter School had toys for recess. As if the new squeals of joy at recess were not enough, the team of social workers were able to put some of the toys from Second Chance Toys to use to help the students work through behavioral issues. "Toys are wonderful tools that allow us to help our children without them realizing it," commented Amanda Michel, M.S.Ed. "While it appears to the children that we are simply playing”, she continued, “we are actually building conflict resolution, problem solving, and pro-social skills." 

Among the many toys donated, the school social workers and counselors are now utilizing a dollhouse in counseling sessions in order to role play problems that arise in the classroom. They use a Monopoly Junior game and other toys to help develop good sportsmanship skills, including taking turns and using kind words with peers. The Legos and action figures are great to use with the students who struggle with following directions, and a Light Brite toy is perfect for helping the children improve their fine motor skills. To top it all off, the donated foosball table will be used to encourage parent-child interaction in a school setting for family game nights!

"Bottom line,” added Allison McKenna, LMSW, “The toys play a key role in providing our students with a developmentally appropriate way to learn about themselves and the world around them. These toys are invaluable!"

 

Bring your children to the Raymour & Flanigan Furniture and Mattresses toy collection March 21st, 4P - 7P, 1961 Broadway at 66th, in Manhattan.

Donate a gently used plastic toy, teach your kids great life lessons and enjoy FREE ice cream and balloons.

At an early age, all children learn about the Three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Elementary school teachers use these simple words to teach children to protect the environment. At home you can remind your children of the reasons behind the green behaviors you expect from them. For example, when your children leave the room and turn off the light, praise them for reducing their energy usage. Congratulate them for reusing resources when they drink from a refillable water bottle. And of course, keep reminding them of the importance of recycling paper, cardboard, glass, and many plastics!

Here are some ideas you can practice with your children:

Reduce:  Cut down on the number of disposable products your family uses by giving your children their own cutlery to bring with them for school lunches or fast-food restaurants. Have them practice saying “no forks, please” when you order food.

Reuse: Before going shopping for new clothes, check first with siblings, cousins or friends' children for hand-me-downs. Then have a fashion show to make these previously worn clothes special and their own! When you do go shopping, have your child get involved by decorating  reusable shopping bags with fabric markers. Then give their artwork a place of honor in your house – so they can remind you to take them and avoid using plastic bags!

Recycle: Look up your local recycling rules with your children. Then, once your kids know how recyclables need to be sorted, encourage them to volunteer in their classrooms to make sure that all of the recyclables go in the right containers.

Remember, the more enthusiastic you are about the Three R’s, the more excited your children will be to go green!

Kathleen Kellett, a writer with an M.A. in Children's Literature and an M.F.A. in Writing for Children, sees toys as a great medium through which children can hone their own storytelling skills.

As we approach Earth Week, SCT Board Member, Nicolas Gordon, discusses the importance of REUSE especially when it comes to plastic toys:

In the past decade, we have become more literate about the environmental and social impacts of our daily actions. But we are also beginning to understand how for pretty much every business out there, there is a significant trade-off between what is good for the financial bottom line or what is healthy for our communities and our planet. There are the upstream impacts such as the carbon emissions from manufacturing, packaging and shipping, and the downstream impacts such as transport and disposal, typically to landfills. For plastic toys, those landfills will be their home for at least another 500 years. That’s not what we want to think about when giving a child a plastic toy. Toys, unlike other common man-made polymers, are close to impossible to recycle, making reuse pretty much the only alternative to lessen their environmental footprint.

Second Chance Toys provides a real solution to this trade-off dilemma by taking gently used toys from those who have no more use for them and placing them into the hands of those in need. The impact is direct, local and profound, and allows all parties involved to become engaged in a new way of dealing with waste while addressing social challenges. Both the City and the State of New York have ambitious waste programs in place to not only tackle the issue of long-term waste reduction but to also reduce the impact of the waste management system on historically overburdened poor and minority neighborhoods.

Take a moment to eyeball all the plastic toys that your children have. If they no longer play with them, they need not clutter your closets nor our landfills, especially when Second Chance Toys offers the option for them to benefit so many children in need. Find out how you can work with Second Chance Toys to donate or start a collection of your own.

Nicolas Gordon, Second Chance Toys Board Member and Sustainability and Life Cycle Strategy Advisor


Two years ago, our EarthServe team for J&J facilities in Raritan, NJ was very excited to learn about Second Chance Toys. As a campus green team, our goal is to promote sustainable business practices and to encourage reducing, reusing and recycling. The Second Chance Toys program is a win-win for us because it keeps plastic toys out of landfills and gives them a reuse purpose as playthings for children with fewer advantages. This is our third successful annual used toy drive. We find that putting up flyers and publishing articles in our quarterly newsletter gets the word out well internally. We start publicizing before Thanksgiving, so people who wish to donate can use the holiday break to clean out their children’s toy chests. When the drive is over, we sort the toys, making sure that everything is clean and nothing is broken. Then we count and photograph the collection and finally we arrange to make the delivery to the organization(s) we have been matched with by Second Chance Toys. The toy delivery is the best part, of course, providing us an opportunity to feel like Santa Claus and see all the smiles generated as a result of our efforts.   -Catherine Pherson, EarthServe Member

Our friends at 1-800- GOT-JUNK? have been volunteering to help us collect toys since 2008. Because of their continued support of time, trucks and manpower, Second Chance Toys has been able to reach so many more children and keep hundreds of thousands of plastic toys out of our landfills. Thank you 1-800- GOT-JUNK? for being such a loyal partner for all these years. You have made a difference in the lives of so many kids and have been helpful to our environment in the process. Pictured above showing off their Second Chance Toys' Certificates of Appreciation are our 1-800- GOT-JUNK? friends that service all 5 boroughs of New York City and parts of New Jersey.

Many thanks for all you do!!

 

Known as the "Shining Star of Williamsburg," P.S. 132's awe-inspiring students, families, and community members generously donated their gently used plastic toys to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of underprivileged children! Upon starting its 2016 Second Chance Toys Drive, coordinated by Arts Liaison, Mrs. Heather de Koning Foley, the collection goal was 200 toys. Incredibly, they surpassed their goal in one day! After a week-long collection period, they were immensely proud to report that they collected 994 toys!

Their students learned how their generosity impacted their peers and how their plastic recycling efforts benefited the environment. The school is grateful to all those who contributed to its toy drive and are looking forward to next year's drive!

Second Chance Toys would like to thank parent volunteer, Danielle Sanchez, for overseeing the cleaning and sorting of the toys, and for helping us coordinate the donation to the three lucky organizations that received P.S. 132’s pristine toys.

 

Sharaay Tefila Synagogue in Manhattan collects close to 600 toys for Second Chance Toys every holiday. This year the toys were divided among three locations including ECDO Adam Clayton Powell Early Learning Center, Parents Association PS 194 and Greater Harlem Healthy Start, all located in upper Manhattan.

Luci Kadage at Greater Harlem Healthy Start sent us this photo and thank you note: “Thank for helping so many moms who cannot afford to buy toys for their children due to lack of basic necessity. You gave them the reason to smile again in this season of giving. Thank you for serving our community. All our moms were happy.”

Under the direction of Fran Miller, the Early Childhood Center at the Washington Hebrew Congregation once again collected hundreds of colorful plastic toys this holiday to be donated to Clifton Park Baptist Church for their community distribution. Randi Drewry at the church made sure that some of the toys were distributed to victims of the Long Branch apartment fire (pictured), as well as the New Hampshire Estates Elementary School, both in Silver Spring, MD.

Founded in 1921, Ridgewood Savings Bank operates 33 branches across Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Long Island and Westchester County. Ridgewood is known for having a positive impact on its customers and the people in the communities where its branches are based.

Ridgewood Savings Bank has held two annual toy collections for us and they also selected Second Chance Toys as the charity for the money raised from their tote bag sale. We learned more from this Q&A with Domenico Ciaccio, Assistant Vice President and Community Reinvestment Officer at Ridgewood Savings Bank.

What is usually the criteria for Ridgewood when it comes to choosing a community project?

Ridgewood Savings Bank’s Domenico Ciaccio: Before choosing a community project, we research the organization to ensure the mission is in line with Ridgewood Savings Bank’s mission when it comes to community service. It is important for us to know that the community project has a positive effect. We also take suggestions from officers and employees of the bank.

How did Ridgewood first get involved with Second Chance Toys?

Domenico: We first found out about Second Chance Toys from one of our Branch Managers who hosted the second annual collection for SCT.    

Where did the idea of the “Tote Sale” to benefit SCT come from?

Domenico: In order to promote the environment, we sell Ridgewood Savings Bank tote bags throughout our branch network. Every year we select a charity for the money raised through the sale of our tote bags. In the past, the bank donated the proceeds of the tote bag sales to Operation Splash, another environmentally-conscious charity

Is there something about what SCT does that strikes a chord with you personally?

Domenico: Ridgewood Savings Bank strongly believes that our children are our future, and SCT does a great job ensuring that children don’t have to go without toys just because their families can’t afford it. We also appreciate how environmentally-conscious your organization is.  

SCT is environmentally-minded as a charity, looking to keep plastic out of local landfills. How is Ridgewood an environmentally-minded bank?

Domenico: We try our best here at Ridgewood Savings Bank to be environmentally-minded. We encourage our customers to sign up for e-statements and have taken steps within the organization in order to reduce the excess use of paper and electricity. Bank employees also volunteer their time with organizations that help the environment.

Finally, is there something you wish more people knew about Ridgewood?

Domenico: If there is one thing I wish more people knew about Ridgewood Savings Bank, it is how much we care about our communities. Ridgewood employees volunteer in food pantries, soup kitchens youth organizations, and senior centers. We help organize and prepare inventory of infant and toddler clothing, shoes, books, toys, etc. The bank also hosts numerous financial education workshops, First Time Homebuyer workshops, and senior identity theft prevention workshops at organizations throughout New York City.

More information on Ridgewood can be found at www.ridgewoodbank.com

Bronna Lipton, from Second Chance Toys, presented Uber with certificates of appreciation for their participation in the very successful Operation Toy Drive NYC. Uber offered a one-day FREE pickup of gently-used plastic toys to its customers in all 5 boroughs of NYC and in Hudson and Union Counties in NJ. Many thanks to Raquel Rosenberg (left) and Katie Dunn (right) for spearheading the respective efforts of Uber NY and Uber NJ to help hundreds of children in need and the environment!

In 2013 Danaya Dickson gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Dakoda. Like every mom, she wanted the best for her child, but it was difficult for her to make ends meet. So when Christmas rolled around that year, and for the next 2 years after that, Danaya was not able to provide her daughter with any gifts that were directly from her. Fortunately her extended family provided some gifts of their own.

This past Christmas was happily different! This year, Ms. Dickson was able to pick out several good-as-new plastic toys that were donated from Second Chance Toys to Babyland Family Services. Mr. Richard Whitten, director of Babyland Family Services, stated, “We had so many people from the community asking us for toys this year. If it were not for Second Chance Toys, we would have been in a pinch."

Among the toys Ms. Dickson selected for Dakoda, were a plastic alligator piano, a Lego block set, and a tea set. She is excited to use all of the toys to play and interact with her daughter. Danaya mentioned that she wants to put numbers and the letters of the alphabet on the Lego blocks, to help begin teaching her young child.

After the toys were picked out, they were wrapped up, and for the first time, Danaya Dickson was able to proudly put her own name on these precious gifts for her daughter. This was a happy holilday indeed!

As you can see from the photo, Edgemont Montessori School, Montclair, NJ amassed more than the 50 toys they originally thought they would collect. Montclair Child Development Center was the beneficiary of these good-as-new plastic toys. Dory Hack commented, "We thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity for Edgemont students to think about others' needs. Looking forward to doing it again next year!"

 

For a sixth consecutive year, Tashua Elementary School in Trumbull, CT collected toys for those in need. As a result of their time and energy, 300 beautiful plastic toys were donated to Community Closet in Bridgeport. Thank you Jim Sullivan and all the students at Tashua for your consistent donations year after year!!

NYC Department of Sanitation Commissioner, Kathryn Garcia, gave her support at Operation Toy Drive NYC's kick-off. As a part of the drive, Kidville collected and cleaned all the toys, Uber provided a day of free pickups, and 1-800-GOT-JUNK? delivered over 1,000 donated toys to organizations throughout NYC--toys that were saved from a trip to a landfill. All in all, it was a great team effort!


​NYC Dept. of Sanitation Commissioner, Kathryn Garcia, at the kick-off


​Operation Toy Drive NYC Team: L-R Raquel Rosenberg - Uber, Rammy Harwood- Kidiville,

Bronna Lipton-SCT, Ed Veloz and Domingo Rodriguez - 1-800-GOT-JUNK?


​Picking out toys collected during Operation Toy Drive NYC


​Toy donation, including the 250,000th toy donated, at Babyland Family Services, Inc. in Newark, NJ

Who would have ever thought that when Sasha Lipton began collecting toys back in 2006, and donated them to Babyland Family Services in Newark, that 10 years later Babyland would receive the 250,000th toy donated by Second Chance Toys!!

It started as a labor of love in 2006, when Sasha noticed all the colorful good-as-new plastic toys being tossed at the curb in her neighborhood. She not only wanted to help kids who were less fortunate, but realized the unnecessary waste headed for our landfills.

It was not easy getting the first organization to accept toys from a cold call by a high school student. Thank you Babyland Family Services for accepting our very first donation, recognizing the need we were fulfilling and giving us the conviction that this idea could take hold.

On this milestone donation of our 250,000th toy, a special thank you goes out to our amazing volunteers holding collections everywhere, and to 1-800- GOT-JUNK? that has volunteered time, trucks and manpower to pick up and deliver all of our large collections. Thank you for believing enough in our mission to give of your time to move us forward and help us grow.


Remaining toys being unloaded from the 1-800-GOT-JUNK? truck 

Video here: https://youtu.be/qqRkxN2Mc_E

Second Chance Toys' Bronna Lipton stopped in to chat with Awestruck's #MomsWithAttitude, Snooki and JWOWW, about their toy collection and to explain how Second Chance Toys works. They also helped us celebrate our 250,000th donated toy!! Thanks to 1-800-GOT-JUNK? for transporting the toys! 

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