Toy drives are found everywhere throughout the holiday season, ranging from familiar names like Toys for Tots to Salvation Army, who constantly ask for brand new toys to be donated.
However, the model is changing thanks to an organization called Second Chance Toys, which seeks to overhaul how communities look at donating toys during the holidays.
The organization has inspired many smaller groups to take part in donating used plastic toys that would normally be thrown away.
One group that is following the movement is The Go-Green Committee at Tashua Elementary School, which has been collecting used toys from the town for four years now and donating them to the Jewish Community Center of Eastern Fairfield County (JCC).
The group will take in any donated toys the Go-Green committee collects and offers the goods free of charge to the greater Bridgeport community free of charge.
Jim Sullivan, a representative of the group and father of two Tashua students, is part of the Go-Green committee and helped make the event a reality.
The committee found the J.C.C. group and they were happy to see they desperately needed donations. Sullivan said he was thrilled when he saw how motivated they were to get the toys on their shelves.
“We try to do something beneficial to the environment on a monthly basis,” said Sullivan. “This was just one of the ideas we kicked around.”
Sullivan said this year’s drive was big success. They collected 937 toys, coming very close to breaking last years record.
Sullivan said the Jingle Bell Run being held on the same day as their drive may be the reason for the lower than expected number, but he is confident that the drive will continue to grow rapidly over the next few years.
He added they will be trying some new advertising tactics and will be implementing a new donation program in Tashua where students bring a lightly used toy of their own to donate to the Community Closet.