Items Used and Loved: Donating It Forward

I was outside on the first warm(ish) day of Spring this year, playing with my kids in the yard.  As my 4-year-old walked past the plastic toddler slide, she stopped and looked at it as if she had not noticed it in a long time.  She climbed up the stairs (it only took two steps) and slid down it kind of.  Her outstretched legs stopped her slide about 8 inches above the wood chip floor.  She turned around and gave the slide a quizzical look which seemed to say, “Really?  Is that all you’ve got?”  Then she ran off to play with something else.

“Maya at the top of the slide” by Anathea Utley.

If last year had not meant balancing everything else that all moms juggle — kids, work, and the day-to-day tasks that are a part of life — I probably would have thought about the fact that my kids have outgrown the slide, and I would have gotten rid of it a year ago.  But to be honest, there is a little bit of nostalgia that probably played into the situation.  My kids used to love that slide.  They are still my babies.  Why would I give the slide away?

The slide has been well-used and loved at our home.  There have been a lot of fun moments with that slide.  As toddlers, my girls had their very first slide experience on it, smiling from baby cheek to baby cheek.  It also played a part in their obstacle courses.  Their dolls went to the “park” and down the slide with their “mommies.”  There were kiddie pool parties in the summer with the kids and their friends sliding joyfully into cool water.

“Boy and Bunny in the Playhouse 2” by Gordon.

But time has passed, and my kids are no longer toddlers.  They are full-fledged children.  My kids still have joy from things that make them smile, but the slide is no longer one of those things.  The slide is just taking up space that could otherwise be used for the rope ladder that my 7-year-old has requested for her upcoming birthday.  What our slide really needs is a new toddler who will love it and use it as it is meant to be used.

Luckily, I live in Needham, where a toddler can be seen strolling down the street with his or her caregiver at any given time.  And luckily, I am a member of Parent Talk and I know just where I can bring the slide.  Parent Talk’s next Used Clothing, Toy and Equipment Sale is on May 7, 2016.

When I donate the slide to Parent Talk’s bi-annual Sale, another lucky toddler will have a new toy just in time for lots of summer backyard fun.  That child will have just as many smiles using the slide as my girls did.  And the parents of that lucky toddler will get a great toy in very good condition for a fraction of what they would have paid if they bought a brand new slide.  Parent Talk — the awesome group that does so much to build community for young families in Needham — will even make some money from my donation.  Everyone wins.

Donated toys, interested kids, and the POD to move it all to Parent Talk’s Sale location!

In short, I have discovered that donating forward is the best way to handle my case of mother’s nostalgia.  When I am volunteering at the Sale (which I always love doing), I know I am going to smile when I see a chubby cheeked toddler running over to the slide with wise parents who know great deal and a recipe for fun when they see one.  Really, who can resist playing a small part in making a toddler smile?  I know you feel the same.

About the Author
Kara Veley is a member of Parent Talk who has previously volunteered for the Used Clothing, Toy, and Equipment Sale as part of the Sale Committee.  She plans to do so again this year, and wishes you a Happy Parent Talk Sale Spring 2016!

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Donated items to the Sale that remain unsold can still have a second life!  After the Sale, representatives of local charities are given a chance to claim any unsold items (for free!) to pass along to their clients and families in need.   Pay it forward!  Please consider donating your used items to Parent Talk’s May 7, 2016 Used Clothing, Toy, and Equipment Sale.  Email for donation drop-off location and guidelines.  PT also needs help from many people to make this happen, and is seeking volunteers.  Sign-up for one 2 hour shift beginning April 7, 2016!  Email to get on the email list for volunteering.  


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