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It’s that time of year again when the kids are headed back to school and we parents are sent wandering into department stores (or online) to get them all the supplies they need. Every year, it weighs heavy on my mind, not only because I know my wallet will be a lot lighter but because other than Christmas, this is another time of mass consumption here in the U.S. The kids are really excited to get new stuff and start their year off but my mind wanders to the sustainability issues. I start to think about packaging waste, over use of plastics, toxics in school supplies, and even factory conditions where the garments, backpacks, and sneakers are made. I know, overwhelming, isn’t it?

Ok, I’m breathing again. 

We’d like to give our readers a few tools that might help when thinking about getting the kids the clothes and supplies they need for the upcoming year. More importantly, we’d like to provide our readers with some resources to make informed choices about buying with sustainability in mind.

A great place to start is www.livinggreener.com. This website although not in the U.S is from the Australian government. Instead of links to places where you can buy things, they posted a Sustainable Back to School Guide. This guide has really great tips for creating a plan to reuse and recycle what you already have, as well as, write checklists, and make sure you stick to them. There are also tips for transportation, energy, and toxic chemicals in backpacks, specifically the avoidance of PVC.

Starting with a plan is a great idea! It will save you time, money, and help the planet.

For budget conscious fans, Walmart has built their Green Room site which offers tips on an ecofriendly school year. This will connect you with Walmart’s sustainability initiatives, as well as get tips from their Twitter fans.

I really love this article from Clark Howard’s website. He hit the nail on the head with “Save Money on Back to School Stuff,”. He gets creative with recycling, other places besides department stores to get school clothes, and even using www.freecycle.org.  It’s important to remember that we have options far beyond jumping in the car and going to a department store. We have the power to match our values with our wallets. Often, choosing sustainable options goes hand and hand with saving money.

Lastly, if you plan to shop with your kids, think about teaching them about money and sustainable choices. Learning to spend money mostly on needs versus wants is a big experience. Connecting our choices with efforts that help the planet and people to be healthy will pay benefits our grandchildren will see.

In this article, Capital One talks about connecting school shopping with a budget and money lesson. Taking it one step further and connecting school shopping with money and sustainability is the next lesson I plan to share with my own teens. Here’s to a Sustainable School Year!

Author: Kelly Eisenhardt, SCT Board Member & Environmental Professional 

Getting involved with Second Chance Toys is easier than you think.

We always receive inquiries with questions from eager volunteers wanting to help the environment and their community but they aren’t sure they have the time or resources necessary to make an impact. There are so many fun and easy ways to get involved with SCT, we wanted to share those opportunities with you so that you can choose the option that works best for your busy schedule.

Do you find yourself stumbling over toys that your children no longer play with? This one is for you.

  • Gather all of the gently used plastic toys that you would like to donate. Check them over to make sure all of the parts are accounted for, that they are in great working condition and that their pieces aren’t too small (small enough to fit through a toilet paper roll). The toys should have working batteries if they are battery operational and should be wiped down to remove dust and germs for their new owners. Donate during our two collection periods, April for Earth Week and November/December for the holidays, by visiting our user-friendly website to find a drop-off location near your home. Our drop-off locations are updated regularly during our collection periods so don’t give up if there isn’t one close to home right away. If you don’t find a location near you and you still want to help, see below for another great donation opportunity.

Want to make an even larger impact? Consider this.

  • Create your very own initiative to collect toys with friends, family, your business, Girl or Boy Scout troops, religious groups, schools, or other members of the community. Take a look at our Getting Started Kit to see how easy it is to host a collection. Once you have collected 50 toys or more, we will match you directly with a recipient organization serving underprivileged children in your own community. Remember, we count on our volunteers to deliver the donation of toys to their assigned recipients. It’s a great opportunity to see firsthand the impact you are making in the lives of children and the environment- after all, those non-biodegradable plastic toys would have ended up in a landfill if it weren’t for you.

No toys? We still need your help.

  • Volunteer your time to help us identify organizations, maintain our database, become a guest blogger, help us coordinate donation events and more. We always have a need for talented volunteers who would like to offer their skills to help grow our mission. You can also spread the word to create a groundswell of support by encouraging others to visit www.secondchancetoys.org and learn more about us, or make a monetary donation to help us do even more ‘good and green’.  

Second Chance Toys partnered with Kohl’s for their National Go Green Event in Philadelphia.

Come support the Second Chance Toys mission at Kidville's Rockin' Railroad Concert & Pizza Party FUNdraiser.

Join the party at Kidville Upper West Side on May 18th! Enjoy free play in Kidville's rooftop playground and a 30 Minute Rockin' Railroad concert. Have some fun at the Kidville art table while snacking on pizza and drinks for the entire family. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to Second Chance Toys. Click here for more info.

Viacom Viacommunity Day 2013 with Second Chance Toys from Shelly Lipton on Vimeo.

Second Chance Toys partnered with Viacom this Earth Week in celebration of their annual Viacommunity Day. 

Second Chance Toys was selected for the 3rd consecutive year to partner with Kohl’s for their National Go Green Event. Through the Kohl’s Cares Associates in Action program, close to 300 volunteers collected over 7,500 gently used plastic toys, cleaned them and tagged them with personalized messages to recipient children.

The fun filled event was held at Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse in Philadelphia with Kohl’s volunteers and their families. Adding to the genuine excitement that a giant playground ensues, there was a talented DJ, fun games and prizes, popcorn, ice cream, face painters and a balloon artist.

NFL rookie and Philadelphia hometown hero, Sharrif Floyd of the Minnesota Vikings, was also there to join the fun and even enjoyed a trip down the huge wooden slide after a team bonding parachute game with Kohl’s associates.

The partnership between Kohl’s Cares and Second Chance Toys is an important foundation to our success and we want to recognize the impact that their efforts are making. Without the spirit and volunteerism of the Kohl’s Cares team, thousands of toys would be destined for landfills never having the opportunity to be ‘reloved’ and reused.  

As always, THANK YOU Kohl’s Cares! 

 

Once again, our partners at Kidville generously volunteered to open their doors as drop-off locations for Second Chance Toys Earth Week 2013 donations.

Kidville’s mission is to make the lives of families with young children better and easier by providing a fun, safe, and clean environment for children to learn, play, and grow. Dovetailing with their dedication to children and play, Kidville is also passionate about helping children in need.

This April, a total of 15 locations across the county participated with SCT collecting nearly 1,000 toys. We were able to place those toys in the hands of children who would otherwise go without and keep the non-biodegradable plastics out of landfills. We couldn’t have done it without the help of Kidville!

In addition to our collection partnership, Kidville will also be hosting a Second Chance Toys fundraiser at their Upper West Side NYC location on May 18th.  Support our mission and enjoy free play in Kidville's rooftop playground and a 30 Minute Rockin' Railroad concert. Have some fun at the Kidville art table while snacking on pizza and drinks for the entire family! Click here for more info.

Big, small, shiny, colorful, noisy- Second Chance Toys toy donations come in many different exciting forms, but they wouldn’t be quite right without the finishing touch of a disinfectant wipe.

LYSOL® Power & Free™ Multi-Purpose Wipes were donated and shipped by Lysol to our New York City and Philadelphia Earth Week event locations to assist us in the final stage of our donation preparation: cleaning!

SCT wants our recipient organizations to know that we value them wholeheartedly and take great pride in the quality of each and every toy that is donated. Having LYSOL® Power & Free™ Multi-Purpose Wipes on hand made the cleaning process quick and easy- and the toys looked brand new!

Thank you LYSOL®, for helping us help kids & the environment.

When you see a giant blue and white 1-800-GOT-JUNK? truck driving by, it's often believed that they are simply hauling “junk” from place to place. This past Earth Week was a completely different story.

GOT JUNK may not be riding around in shiny red sleighs pulled by reindeer, but their outstanding effort has left them resembling our very own Springtime Santa. They have delivered over 10,000 gently used plastic toys to disadvantaged children in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Each year, their hard work allows us to reach more and more children and keep plastic out of landfills.

Thank you 1-800-GOT-JUNK, for your time, effort, and dedication! 

Second Chance Toys partnered with Viacom this Earth Week in celebration of their annual Viacommunity Day. 100 Viacom associates volunteered their time to spend the day sorting, cleaning, and tagging nearly 1,000 toys in Times Square. 

There were balloon artists, face painters, coloring tables, and even a few impromptu dance competitions!

Steve Weatherford and Josh Brown of the New York Giants joined the fun and helped the volunteers clean and tag the toys. It wouldn't be a Second Chance Toys event without a little work AND play, so Steve and Josh showed off their skills during line dances to the energetic beats played by our talented volunteer DJ. Their participation added to the great enthusiasm felt by everyone there.

Because of Viacom’s outstanding effort, all 1,000 toys were saved from the landfills and have landed in the hands of children who really need them. 

 

New Jersey elementary students at Evergreen School in Scotch Plains and Tamaques School in Westfield donated over 600 toys to Newark Harmony House for Earth Week. The toys were delivered by our friends at 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and were tagged with messages for each recipient making the donation even more special. 

Join us for a great NYC event on Friday April 19th from 11am-2pm. Come see NY Giant Steve Weatherford in Times Square (at Duffy Square, between 45th & 47th Streets, Broadway/Seventh Ave right by TKTS) for a big Second Chance Toys Earth Week extravaganza with our friends at Viacom for Viacommunity Day!

Clowns, balloon artists, face painters and other BIG surprises.. and it’s FREE! See you there!

The Girl Scouts of Suffolk County, troops 1228 and 2868, held a gently used plastic toy drive with Second Chance Toys on Saturday, April 6. The girls donated 100 plastic toys and 2 play kitchens in great condition to Long Island Head Start in Huntington, NY. They then sent 2 additional car loads of toys to the Family Service League in Huntington topping off a very successful toy collection. Great job girls!

The Kidville Earth Week collection locations in the NY metropolitan area can now be found in the Drop-Off Locations section of our website! Start your spring cleaning and bring your gently used plastic toys to a Kidville location near you April 14th-18th. Help us help kids and the environment!

Second Chance Toys would like to thank Ben Cohen of Motion Mix Celebration Specialists for donating his talent and time to DJ at our upcoming Earth Week 2013 events! Ben will be providing the music, games and entertainment to create an exciting atmosphere full of fun activities for everyone involved. 
 
Motion Mix is a multifaceted team of talented disc jockeys & live musicians specializing in once-in-a-lifetime, distinctive celebrations. More than just the music, your affair gets scripted like a Motion picture with you in the director’s seat to ensure that we exceed your expectations. There is only one chance; to make it perfect- so put your event in Motion! www.motionmixdj.com

Close to 16 million children in this country live below the poverty level.

Growing up in an affluent suburb, that's a stat I never had top of mind. I was among the fortunate. I had a beautiful house. I went to a good school. I had every opportunity in front of me and never longed for anything. Yet it was a pile of plastic toys that would change my life forever. Read More

Kidville locations in the NY metropolitan area had such an overwhelming response to their collections during the holidays that they are expanding their collections to include locations across the country for Earth Week 2013! The list is increasing each day as more Kidville teams align with our efforts. Location details will be posted soon in the Drop-Off Locations section of our website.  

Find the current list of Kidville collection locations below:

Carlsbad, CA

Brentwood, CA

Foxboro, MA

Bethesda, MD

Summit, NJ

Hoboken, NJ

Upper East Side, NYC

Upper West Side, NYC

Tribeca, NYC

Cobble Hill, NYC

Park Slope, NYC

Union Square, NYC

Midtown West, NYC

The Woodlands, Houston, TX

Dallas, TX

Saturday, April 20th | 11am – 2pm

Kohl’s Cares Go Green Event Wants Your Gently Used Plastic Toys

Donate your plastic toys on April 20th from 11am – 2pm and enjoy some family fun with Kohl’s Cares and Second Chance Toys at Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse. 3500 Reservoir Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19121

Kohl’s Cares will be celebrating Earth Week by collecting, cleaning and donating gently used plastic toys to organizations serving disadvantaged children. Within hours, thousands of toys will be transported by 1-800-GOT-JUNK? to local Head Starts in Philadelphia metro communities. There will be entertainment and activities for all, a visit from first-round NFL prospect and Philadelphia native Sharrif Floyd, in addition to the opportunity to enjoy Smith’s Playground and Playhouse! A toy donation on April 20th will get you a free face painting OR balloon art at Smith!

To make it easy, Smith is also accepting your gently used plastic toys between April 1st and April 20th.

Plastic toys should:
– be clean
– no small or missing parts
– batteries functional

This is a great opportunity to start your spring cleaning early, make some deserving children happy, and at the same time keep these non biodegradable plastics out of our landfills. Help your community and the environment this Earth Week

The Second Chance Toys website has won another award! The MarCom International Competition for Marketing & Communication Professionals has chosen the site as one of their 2012 Gold Award Recipients. Great work, 8fold.

Second Chance Toys is excited to announce our Earth Week 2013 partnership with 4GOOD, a Los Angeles based non-profit organization inspiring families to actively participate in volunteer activities.

Each spring, 4GOOD holds a sponsored Family Day Event where their mission is to "Spark the Spirit of Giving Back".  Local families attend the event for a free afternoon full of fantastic hands-on family friendly volunteer activities and opportunities. Last year, 4GOOD Family Day attracted more than 500 parents, grandparents and children. 4GOOD will be holding a gently used plastic toy drive at their 2013 event and will be donating their collected toys to SCT. We are thrilled to be working together and look forward to a very successful collection.

Interested in attending? Click here and don't forget to bring your gently used plastic toys!

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