This GR Organization Needs Your USED Toys for the Holidays! Plus, Toys for Tots & Angel Tree Info

FATE toy drive

Christmas Toy Drives Help Families in Need

Whether giving your children gifts this Christmas will be a challenge for you, or you able to help others this year, you need to know about these three amazing programs that serve West Michigan.

Fun Again Toys is a local nonprofit, and Angel Tree & Toys for Tots are national programs. We’ve gathered info on how to participate – for both givers and recipients.

This article focuses on Kent County, but assistance and participation are available throughout West Michigan.

Want to donate items that aren’t toys?

Certain organizations in West Michigan take used item donations and also give back to the community.

Fun Again Toys for Everyone (FATE)

If you find yourself swimming in old toys and want to donate them to a new family for the holidays, FATE is ready to take them off of your hands.

Fun Again Toys for Everyone (FATE) is a Grand Rapids area program that launched in 2010. Initially spearheaded by Doris and Brian Toronyi, Dannielle Backus is now the organization’s point person since Toronyis retired.

FATE’s founders, parents of two boys, found they had a basement full of stuff they no longer needed. They explain on their Facebook page:

“A few years ago I was looking around for a charitable organization that would accept gently used toys that would then give them to kids who could use them – sort of “recycle” the toys and give them a new life with new children.

“I couldn’t find any that accepted used toys, just new ones. I could donate them to places like Goodwill or Salvation Army but they would turn around and sell them and I knew that there were families out there that couldn’t even afford to buy food and pay for utilities, let alone even toys.

So, since I couldn’t find an organization that would collect and distribute gently used for free to families that need them, I decided I’d make my own – thus, FATE was born.”

Right before FATE’s fifth Christmas, they received their official 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS.

Now, as FATE grows, help is needed on almost every front, including board members.

FATE used toy donations grand rapids

Ways You Can Help FATE


FATE needs volunteers to serve on the giveaway committee.

This is a great volunteer opportunity to get involved with our community, to make a positive impact on families and children for the Christmas holiday.

Please PM their Facebook page if you can serve as a committee member from mid-September – late December.

Donate Gently Used Toys or Winter Apparel – or Make a Monetary Donation

Any new or gently used toy or winter apparel item for kids is greatly appreciated. No broken or well-worn items, please.

They accept donations for boys and girls, babies through teens.

It is especially hard for them to find items to give the older kids through teens, so if you have anything to donate in that category, please do.

Send a message to the FATE Facebook Page to find out which of the seven drop-off locations is closest to you. Donations are accepted through Dec 8, 2022.

No items to donate? Monetary donations are accepted and greatly appreciated.

Become a Storage Location

FATE needs a clean storage location to house the truckloads of donations they are expecting!

With next to no operating budget, this place would need to be donated space. However, this would be TAX DEDUCTIBLE!!!!

Please PM their Facebook page to join the list of possible storage locations.

Help with Giveaway Day

The toys are distributed at a secret location on Giveaway Day, where parents will come and fill the wish lists of their children. To get ready for Giveaway Day, volunteers are needed to help with the BIG CLEAN UP EVENT where all of the toys are sorted and cleaned.

You can also help by working on setup or takedown for the Giveaway Day event. Only adults can help with this.

It takes a lot of volunteers to help with sorting & set-up before the event day and to serve as “elves” during the event.

Get Christmas Assistance from FATE

Application Close Date: When maximum number is met (300 families for 2022)

Applications for assistance opened on November 17, 2022.

Fill out this form to apply for assistance.

FATE’s objective is to assist families that have unexpectedly found themselves in a situation where they are unable to buy gifts, most often as a result of a loss of work, medical issue or priority financial obligations.

At this time no proof of hardship is required as they rely upon the honesty of the families seeking help.

FATE does, and will continue to, coordinate with other organizations to ensure that as many different families as possible are reached and helped during holidays.

Those that receive gifts from FATE are purposefully selected based upon review of the request. Registering with other organizations will reduce the likelihood of being selected by FATE.

Toys for Tots

The U.S. Marine Corp Reserves Toys for Tots program is an annual, national toy drive that collects and distributes toys to less fortunate children at Christmastime.

WZZM is the local media sponsor for Toys for Tots, helping spread the word about the toy drive.

While Toys for Tots is a national program, this article focuses on Kent County in Michigan.

If you are looking for a different Toys for Tots program, the national website is the starting point to find one of our nearly 800 Toys for Tots campaign sites. 

Navigate to the menu option “Donate a Toy,” select your state, then the city/county. If the city/county is covered, clicking on that location will take you to a local Toys for Tots website.

toys for tots grand rapids kent county

Ways to Help With Toys for Tots


If you want to volunteer, email your name and contact information to [email protected].

Make a Donation Online or by Check

Online donations are via PayPal or credit card.

Checks can be made out to Tots for Tots and sent to:
C/O Toys For Tots
645 Three Mile Rd NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49544

Become a Toy Drop Off Site

Drop sites are located across Kent County at local businesses, some libraries, and some fire stations.

Click here to see a list of donation drop sites.

Get Christmas Assistance from Toys for Tots

Application Close Date: 12/1/2022

Applications for assistance for Kent County residents is open from October 1 through early December.

All applications will be taken online this year.

Toys are distributed the Saturday before Christmas. Approved applicants will be notified of specific distribution dates and locations. Check the Toys for Tots website for additional distribution details.

On distribution day, approved applicants will come to choose gifts for their children, ages 0 – 16.

Parents are asked to list suggestions for the items that would interest their child. Families are not guaranteed a specific item and will NOT be allowed to exchange toys.

Angel Tree

The Angel Tree Toy Drive is an annual nationwide Christmas event spearheaded by the Salvation Army’s community centers across the country. This program provides Christmas gifts to thousands and thousands of children across the country each year.

Families register with Angel Tree, indicating the ages and wish list items for their children. This wish list is then shared with community members, who purchase gifts for these families.

In West Michigan, 10 different Salvation Army Corps Community Centers partner with WOOD TV to bring Angel Tree to our area.

Each Angel Tree program is independently run by the Salvation Army Community Center in that West Michigan county.

Participation and instructions for each county’s Angel Tree program are different. This article focuses on Kent County’s Angel Tree program.

To get involved with any other West Michigan counties, reach out to the local Salvation Army or Angel Tree contact listed here.

angel tree toy drive grand rapids kent county

Ways You Can Help With the Angel Tree Toy Drive

Host an Angel Tree

Volunteer to collect gifts at your business, church, school, office, or organization.

Once you submit your organization’s registration form, your local Angel Tree contact person will be in touch and will get your tags delivered to you within a week of signing up.

After you have your tags, it will be up to you to distribute them by setting up a Christmas tree at your location.  You’ll collect new, unwrapped toys and gifts at your location and ultimately transport the toys to a designated Salvation Army collection site.

Give to Angel Tree

STEP 1: Find a participating Angel Tree location on the Angel Tree map

STEP 2: Choose a tag from their Angel Tree.

STEP 3: Purchase an appropriate gift.

STEP 4: Return unwrapped gift to any of the participating Angel Tree locations in West Michigan by mid-December


You may choose to Shop Online using their Amazon or Walmart Wishlists, or make an Angel Tree Donation. Angel Tree Donations are used to buy $20 teen Christmas Gift Cards, put toward food assistance, or used to purchase toys for children.

Get Assistance from the Angel Tree

If you need assistance from the Angel Tree and live in Kent County, contact Kate Meyer at 616-459-3433 or [email protected]

You may also get information at neighborhood food pantries or call the United Way hotline at 1-800-887-1107.

Those receiving Christmas assistance from the Salvation Army will get:
A gift card to help with the purchase of Christmas dinner
One large and one small toy for each child ages 0 to 11
A gift card to purchase gifts for each child ages 12-16

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