Most children look forward to waking up on Christmas morning and opening their gifts, but not every child can experience this without the help of a caring community. Throughout Tampa Bay, toy drives and donation centers distribute toys and gifts to those children in our community who need them most. Here are nine places where you can donate toys and other gifts to help all children feel extra special this Christmas.
- Toys for Tots
This U.S. Marine Corps Reserve program helps families in need have a great holiday season by collecting and distributing Christmas gifts for children of all ages. Donate new, unwrapped toys at any of the drop-off locations in Hillsborough County. To learn more about the Toys for Tots program and locate toy drop-off sites, visit tampa-fl.toysfortots.org.
- Ronald McDonald House
Resident families at the Ronald McDonald Houses of Tampa Bay need your help to have a better holiday season. Donating new gifts for children, including toys, books, board games, movies and more. Gift cards and pantry items are also appreciated by the families. You can see the whole list at rmhctampabay.org/other-ways.
- Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tent
The Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Tent supports more than 18,000 families in need during the holiday season. You can help by donating new gifts, especially food and toys for infants and teens, at the tent or at other drop-off locations. Learn more about the items needed and drop off locations at metromin.org/holiday-central.
- Crisis Center of Tampa Bay
Many families have survived tough times with the help of The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, and through their Holiday Giving Program, you can help these families enjoy the holidays as well. Drop off new toys, gifts for pre-teens and teens and gift cards at the Crisis Center or learn more at crisiscenter.com.
- Boys and Girls Club
The Boys and Girls Club is collecting new toys for children of all ages, from elementary to high school age, and would appreciate puzzles, board games, toy cars and more. Toys and gifts for children and teens can be dropped off at 4221 W. Boy Scout Blvd., Suite 450. To learn more about the Boys and Girls Club, visit bgctampa.org.
- St Joseph’s Children’s Hospital
Year-round, St Joseph’s Children Hospital accepts toys, activities and comfort items for children of all ages ranging from infants to teens. Items such as Play-Doh, puzzles, educational games, video games and teethers are just a few of the items on the wish list. For the complete list, visit give2stjoeskids.org. You can drop off new toys and gifts at the information desk in the lobby at 3001 W Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Shriner’s Hospital for Children
The patients at Shriner’s Hospital for Children need your help for a better and more festive stay this holiday season. Due to space and patient needs, only items on the wish list (that include arts and crafts, Barbies, Uno cards, trucks and more) can be accepted. Find the full wish list for the Tampa Shriner’s Hospital at shrinershospitalforchildren.org/locations/Tampa.
- John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital
New, unused toys for infants, children and teens can be dropped off in the hospital lobby. You can find their wish lists on Amazon for NICU Nook, Baby Bundles, Kids Corner and Teen Scene. Learn more about items needed at hopkinsallchildrens.org.
Children’s hospitals such as St. Joseph’s, Shriner’s and John Hopkin’s will accept toy and gift donations year-round. Even if donating new gifts isn’t doable this holiday season, you can ask your children if they want to donate some of their old toys they don’t use or play with anymore. Organizations such as Salvation Army, Goodwill, churches and more will accept used toys and gifts. After all, giving is in the spirit of the holidays!
- Eckerd Connects
You can give hope to a foster child or a child who has been removed from their home due to abuse or neglect. By donating new clothing, school supplies, toys, diapers, hygeine items, and other basic neccesseties, you are helping to stock the Raising Hope ‘store’ where a child entering the foster care system can shop and fill a duffle bag of their very own. Learn more by visiting eckerd.org.
Other ways to give back in Tampa Bay: