As a mom of three, I am always looking for ways to teach my children the value of giving back. Toy drives and donations give your children the opportunity to be a part of the holidays and help local families and children in need. As my children scour the toy catalogs, I remind myself to pause my little consumers and remind them of the true spirit of the season. The conversation I have with my kids this time of year always sets the tone for the season and reminds us all of the power of giving back and the feeling of how blessed we are. My kids are so proud of the toys and clothes they pick out for others and appreciate that you are never too small to help and give back.
Hospitals, family shelters, and nationwide collections appreciate every donation, both big and small. Join us at Kidlist in spreading holiday cheer throughout Chicagoland!
Holiday Toy Drives and Places to Donate in the West Suburbs
Some organizations accept only new, unopened toys. Please refer to their websites for giving guidelines, especially when giving to organizations that help sick children.
Lurie Children’s Hospital accepts donations only through Amazon, and their hospital teams have put together wish lists of items that are truly needed. See the current wish list on Amazon!
The local moms’ group I help administer will be collecting new, unwrapped toys to distribute to local teen parents in the western suburbs. Toys will be donated to Teen Parent Connection of Glen Ellyn. The toy drive runs from November 2 – December 3, 2021. You can buy toys directly from the wish list and they will be sent to Teen Parent Connection! Toys can also be dropped off at Low Carb Kitchen or Image Eclips Studio.
The Toys for Tots toy drive has hundreds of drop-off locations listed for DuPage County here and Cook County here. With so many drop-off locations nearby, it’s very easy to donate to this charity. Toys for Tots collects new and unwrapped toys, as well as donations to purchase toys.
Another way to support Toys for Tots? Breakaway Basketball is hosting its 7th annual Toys for Tots Clinic for kids in grades 1–8 on November 28, 2021. See the website for details and to sign up. Also Glen Ellyn Park District is having a Toys for Tots toy drive with character appearances on December 5 from 1-3pm at Ackerman SFC.
5111 Chase Avenue
Downers Grove, IL
Available for drop-offs Now – December 13, 2021 | Weekdays from 9:00am – 3:00pm and Saturdays from 9:00am – 12:00pm
Sharing Connections accepts donations of all kinds in their Downers Grove location and provides assistance to over 1,000 local DuPage County children. They will be accepting toys and gift cards until December 13, 2021, so plan to donate ahead of time. No donation is too small — everything received will go directly to a family that needs help. New toys, clothing and gift certificates are also greatly appreciated. See the current wish list and information here.
201 S. Naperville Road
Wheaton, IL 60187
104 Chestnut Avenue
Westmont, IL 60559
People’s Resource Center’s annual Share the Spirit program will look a little different this year: families will drive through the DuPage County Fairgrounds to pick up their gifts. PRC is collecting books, games, hats, gloves, cocoa, tea, mugs, and gift cards. Click here to find wishlists for Amazon, Target, and Walmart, as well as a link for monetary donations.
Donations to the Ronald McDonald House help them carry out their mission of caring for families of children with complex medical needs. The wishlist can be found here. There are five houses in the Chicagoland area, and they all have linked their Amazon wishlists to request donations as well:
- Ronald McDonald House near Advocate Children’s Hospital
- Ronald McDonald Family Room in Edward Hospital
- Ronald McDonald House near Loyola University Medical Center
- Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s
- Ronald McDonald House near Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital
- Ronald McDonald House near UChicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital
The Salvation Army runs an Angel Tree Program in which you can sign up and buy gifts for children in the Chicagoland area. New this year, you can register online to buy for a virtual angel tree tag. You can even have the gifts shipped directly to the Salvation Army.
Work together as a family to pack a shoebox with gifts for a special child in need. Operation Christmas Child is aiming to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach 11 million children around the globe this year, including countries like Peru, the Philippines, Rwanda, and Ukraine.
Visit the website for tips on how to pack your shoebox and where to drop it off. National collection week runs November 15–22, 2021. Individual locations usually provide free boxes for you to pack and Hobby Lobby is selling Operation Christmas totes that you can fill and drop off at one of the designated locations.
Salt Creek Ballet is offering the community the chance to “Be an Angel” with their new Angel Ticket program. With a donation of $43 for a child and $48 for a parent, you can purchase a Nutcracker ticket for an underprivileged child and their parent, giving them the gift of live theatre for the holidays.
Toy Express offers drop off locations throughout the Chicagoland area. They are working on the details for 2021, but check their website or Facebook page for updates and drop off locations.
This not-for-profit agency serves as connection between families and businesses who have new toys and books to donate and the children that need them most. They do accept used video games. They are in need of many items this holiday season. This local charity donates to the southside of Chicago neighborhoods. Please see the wish list here.
This organization serves St. Charles and portions of Wayne, Wasco, Elburn, West Chicago, South Elgin, Campton Hills, and unincorporated Kane County. Big Hearts of Fox Valley NFP is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to brightening the lives of children whose families are experiencing a financial hardship. You can sign up to sponsor a child for the holidays and shop their Amazon toy wish list. The also have a big gift wrapping event for all ages on December 1, 2021 with food, drinks, and visits with Santa. Registration is required.
North Riverside Park Mall is holding a toy drive to benefit the families of Children’s Center of Cicero-Berwyn from November 26 through December 12, 2021. Bring a new, unwrapped toy to Customer Service Center located in center court and get a FREE Movie Pass to Classic Cinemas North Riverside. Click here for more details.
If you’re interested in more opportunities to volunteer and give back this holiday season, check out our article on volunteer opportunities with families!