A reader wrote to us the other day and asked if we knew of places throughout the Triad that would accept used stuffed animals, and if not, would we blog about it. She was cleaning out old toys to make room for all the new ones that arrived during the holiday season. I think I wrote back saying, “Sure, no problem. We’ll pull together and get it uploaded.” Well, little did I know how difficult it would be to find places that accept used and gently used stuffed animals!

The obvious places you’d choose for toy donations, like Goodwill, no longer accept them. And it has nothing to do with germs, but more to do with regulations regarding the fire retardancy of the materials inside. Who knew? Like many of us, the reader who wrote us has a million stuffed animals that have been hugged maybe once or twice, and then crammed into the “stuffed animal basket” never to be loved again.

So, I am calling on all of you, our readers, to see if you’ve ever been in this predicament before. If you know of any organizations in the Triad that accept used stuffed animals, please list your suggestions in the comments below. If we get enough responses, we’ll post a follow up to this blog!

Below are ideas I found with help from www.ehow.com (I love that web site, by the way!), and from other readers. If you’ve had first-hand experiences with any of these places below, again – send us a comment or email us directly toKatie@TriadMomsOnMain.com.

1. Sometimes local police departments, sheriff’s department or fire department will accept small stuffed animals to calm children involved in accidents, accompany children en route to a hospital, or soothe kids who are lost or involved in custody incidents.

2. Stuffed Animals for Emergencies (SAFE) collects new and gently used stuffed animals and toys to be redistributed to police, fire and rescue, ambulance services, children’s homes, hospitals, life flight, and other emergency organization. Brandi Byers is the North Carolina representative, however, I am not sure where in NC she is located. She can be emailed at brandi_byers@yahoo.com.

3. Project Night Night, is an organization that donates individual tote bags to homeless children ages 0-10, each filled with a security blanket, an age-appropriate book, and a stuffed animal. There are shelters across the country, with one here in Winston-Salem! You can contact Family Services, Inc, 1200 South Broad Street, W-S, at 724-3979.

4. Sometimes homeless shelters, battered women’s shelters or senior centers accept donations of stuffed animals.

5. Toys for Tots collect toys that were never used or are still in their original packaging for children of all ages (from newborns to teens). Here is a link to all their toy drop-off locations in the Triad.

6. Teddy Bear Brigade, a program of Gleaning for the World, is a 501c.3 non-profit located in Central Virginia.They   accept donations of new and gently used stuffed animals for distribution as humanitarian aid and disaster relief to children in developing countries. For more info visit its website or email cellis@gftw.org. Stuffed animals can be dropped of or shipped to our warehouse at: Gleaning for the World, Att: Teddy Bear Brigade, 7539 Stage Road / P.O., Box 645, Concord, VA 24538.

7. Exchange/SCAN will take gently used stuffed animals. Visit their website for more information. They are located on Northwest Blvd in WS.

Where else can you think of? And has anyone tried these places listed above?