Looking to donate new or gently used toys, books and other children's items this holiday season? Along with consignment and thrift stores in the area, there are organizations and groups working to collect children toys and other items during the holidays, and beyond.
Brittany Fromyer, a nurse in Erie, founded Santa Shop Erie two years ago with her mother, Sandy Eckman.
"I believe every child deserves to wake up on Christmas morning, run to the tree and find something to open from Santa," she said about her passion for her Santa Shop Erie project. "I hope to make this an Erie tradition and get our whole community involved! This year has been emotionally, physically, and financially draining for a majority of our residents of Erie. The only way we will get through this is together."
In need of help this holiday season to make the holidays bright for your kids? Here is a list of Erie organizations and groups to contact.
Where to donate gently-used and gently-loved items:
Santa Shop Erie
Drop off gently used or new toys at Barber Auto Nov. 22, 29 and Dec. 6 from noon to 4 p.m. for distribution to families in need during the holiday season. If these dates don't work, you can message the Santa Shop Erie Facebook page to arrange a private donation.
Little Free Pantries
Gently-used gloves, hats, socks and other small items for children and adults are always in need at Little Free Pantries throughout Erie. Find a list of Little Free Pantries here. You can also drop off donations at the home at 816 W. Eighth St. Donations will be distributed to Little Free Pantries throughout Erie.
Little Free Libraries
Always in need of gently-used books. Here are the locations of Little Free Libraries around Erie (Please note this list was last updated in 2019).
Donate new toys and other items:
Purchase a toy online on in store and either ship it directly to the Salvation Army or drop it off between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Salvation Army address is 1022 Liberty St., Erie, PA 16502. Toys are needed by Dec. 11, 2020.
The Elves That Help
This is like Project Secret Santa. The group is made up of secret gifters. Join their Facebook page if you want to sponsor a child/ren for any holiday that comes around.
R.B. Wiley Charter School
In need of new games for distribution as gifts to children in grades K-2. Specifically requesting character-themed matching games, Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Connect 4, Trouble, and HiHo Cherry O, or any Jr. version of traditional board games. You can drop off donations in the lobby at 1446 E. Lake Road. Donations requested by Nov. 24.
Mercy Center for Women
The Mercy Center for Women has a list of holiday gift suggestions for women, infants, and teens at their facility. There is also a Holiday Giving Tree at Eastside Family YMCA benefiting The Mercy Center for Women.
SafeNet has put together a children’s wish list that can be fulfilled through Amazon and asks that all gift donations be brought to its administrative offices at 1702 French St. Please leave your gifts unwrapped and, if possible, please deliver them in a gift bag. Donations requested by Dec. 5
St. Martin Center
St. Martin Center provide services to help crisis situations, plus programs to help people get on their feet and on the path to self-sufficiency. Their Amazon wish list can be found here.
Crime Victim Center
Counselors use art to help children deal with trauma. The Crime Victim Center is always in need of art supplies like fingerpaint, paper and sketchpads. See their whole list here.
Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots has boxes in various Erie businesses to collect new toys. They are also holding a Stuff This Bus event at Millcreek Mall Saturday. Get details here.
Know of a group, organization or event we're missing? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll add it to the list!
Brought to you by our amazing Macaroni Kid Erie sponsors Catherine Fox Realty, Park's Taekwondo, Jack Frost Donuts and Jennifer Lynn Photography!