In the summer of 2006, a New Jersey teenager noticed piles of perfectly good toys, sitting on curbsides next to garbage cans, headed for the landfill, and pondered the pointless waste, not to mention all the kids who might appreciate the toys. At 17, Sasha Lipton, was no stranger to good deeds. She was already volunteering as a counselor at Camp Sunshine, a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families, when her waste-saving/love-giving idea struck. The result is Second Chance Toys, a nonprofit organization that rehabilitates and recycles plastic toys for kids who would otherwise go without.
Why plastic toys, specifically? Well, the good news is that because they are plastic, there is usually very little wear and tear, allowing for a more complete toy makeover. Alternately, because the toys are plastic, they do not biodegrade, making them unwelcome in the landfill - another reason to keep them in circulation. All this combined with the fact that plenty of children do not enjoy a bounty of toys makes it an ideal solution.
"Toys provide opportunities for laughter, fun, and inquisitive exploration of the world. These are critical opportunities for the healthy development of children—emotionally, intellectually, and physically.
More than 29 million children in the United States alone are from low-income families, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty. Just by donating a gently used plastic toy, you can make a world of difference in the life of a disadvantaged child and at the same time help keep non biodegradable plastics out of our landfills."
Since the launch of Second Chance Toys six years ago, the organization has collected and donated nearly 113,000 toys to thousands of happy kids. Those who would like to donate toys in their area can go here and SCT is always looking for local organizers to create a toy collection in their region. Meanwhile, twice a year the organization holds a nationwide toy drive - November/December, and again in April, for Earth Week.
With transportation and collection support from 1-800-JUNK and Kohl's, among other companies, the program is taking off in local communities across the country. Sasha is now a senior at Northwestern University and Second Chance Toys continues to fulfill its mission - to keep unwanted toys out of landfills and in the hands of grateful kids, where they belong.
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