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How to donate toys, books and games to University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital

We’ve compiled a donation guide to help you understand what types of donations we can and cannot accept during the holiday season.
University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital staff accept donations on behalf of the patients and families staying in the hospital.

Every year, University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital is fortunate enough to receive a flurry of donations during the holidays from dedicated and generous families who want to make a difference for others.

For a variety of reasons—including our patients’ complex health needs—we cannot accept some items. Other items are in high demand among the families who visit our hospital. To help donors understand our standards, we’ve compiled this handy donation guide.

What kinds of donations do you accept?

Due to infection prevention concerns, we only accept new, unwrapped toys, books, clothes and crafts in their original packaging—preferably in plastic bags directly from the store.

So, I can’t donate my children’s old toys?

Correct. Often people ask if they can donate their stuffed animals, beanie babies, holiday bears or other collections. We deeply appreciate donors’ willingness to help, but unfortunately we cannot accept these items. Occasionally, we will accept some gently used DVDs and video games (nothing rated "M" for mature), but these must  be approved before donating to the hospital. We do not accept used board games.

Some gently used books can also be donated to the hospital’s Family Resource Center—including non-fiction books, joke books, Guinness World Record books and adult fiction books published in the last five years.

What about movies? Any restrictions?

We accept new DVDs that are rated PG-13 and under. Please, no R-rated movies.

Okay, I’ve got new, acceptable items. How do I donate?

Donations can be arranged through Patient and Family Support Services Programs Coordinator Ann Shelp. You can contact Ann via email at Our Child-Family Life Services program and our Volunteer Services department can also help make arrangements. We are happy to meet donors during business hours Monday through Friday in the lobby of University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital for a photo opportunity with their donation. Donations can also be dropped off at the hospital’s information desk in the main lobby at other times. 

Do I have to do anything else?

We ask donors to complete a “Gift in Kind” form and a donation form at the time of the donation. If the donation does not meet hospital criteria, we’ll be unable to accept the donation and will not be able to provide documentation for tax purposes. 

Where can I bring my donation if you can’t accept it?

If we can’t take it, we recommend donating to the following organizations:

For used items:

  • Sharing and Caring Hands
    575 N. 7th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55405
    Phone: 612-338-4640
  • Goodwill Stores – Various locations around the metro area

For food, candy or beverages:

  • Second Harvest Food Bank (Two Locations)
    Golden Valley
    6325 Sandburg Rd. Suite 1700, 55427
    Phone: 651-209-7980

    St. Paul
    1140 Gervais Ave. 55109
    Phone: 651-484-5117

What items do you need the most?

Our pediatric patients love age-appropriate toys and games. We typically ask for a wide range of toys, clothes and books. We can use everything from arts and craft supplies to Xbox and PlayStation 4 video games. Though we appreciate all new donations, there are certain items that we have prioritized this year:

For infants and toddlers, we especially need:

  • Rattles
  • Light-up and sound toys
  • Links and plastic rings
  • O-balls
  • Infant kick-and-play crib toys

For preschool and school-age patients, we especially need:

  • Thomas & Friends trains (Die-cast style)
  • Paw Patrol toys
  • Lego kits

For teens, we especially need:

  • Lego kits
  • Headphones
  • Slippers and slipper socks
  • Burt’s Bees kits
  • Minnesota sports team apparel, including the Gophers, Vikings, Wild, Lynx and Twins

Books that we especially need:

  • Baby Board books
  • Joke books
  • Books with princess themes
  • Books with superhero themes
  • The very latest in young adult fiction

For more items, click on one of the "wish lists" included below.

Child-Family Life Program Holiday Wish List
Family Resource Center Book Wish List
Pediatric Behavioral Health Wish List