Make a Donation

The Washtenaw Elves rely on donations of new and very-gently used items from the community. During our donation period, we will collect, inspect, clean and sort thousands of items generously donated by people like you!

Donations underway for 2014

Donations for Christmas 2014 are now being accepted. The deadline for donations is Sunday, Dec. 14.

Who We Serve  |  What We Need  |  Items Not Accepted  | Our Donation Policy

Who We Serve

Our families include children and grandchildren from birth to 18 years old. The gifts we give cover a wide range of interests and technologies ranging from handmade toys to electronics. Here is a sampling of some of our children:

  • 19-month-old boy: Loves trucks, Thomas the Train, board books and coloring
  • 2-year-old girl: Loves dolls, dogs, Mickey Mouse, and Laugh-N-Learn toys to help with her speech
  • 4-year-old boy: Likes Hot Wheels, Spiderman, Disney DVDs and Legos
  • 6-year-old girl: Loves Dora the Explorer, posters and markers, dress-up clothes and fairies
  • 9-year-old boy: Likes to play basketball and football, remote-control cars, Xbox games, reading and playing in the snow!
  • 11-year-old girl: Likes to draw, read about animals, and wants to learn how to knit/sew
  • 13-year-old boy: Likes Playstation 2 games, soccer, music and “Harry Potter”
  • 16-year-old girl: Likes jewelry, hair accessories, make-up, lotions (anything “girly”), loves the “Twilight” series and “High School Musical” and country music.
  • 18-year-old boy: Likes science fiction and is into model cars and airplanes and anything Michigan sports-related (Go Blue!)

Each of our children receives a variety of gifts, including toys or other gift item, books, stuffed animals and a stocking with small goodies. In addition, if supplies allow, we often give one family gift such as a board game or movie, and adults may receive a mug with hot chocolate, coffee or tea and a candy cane.
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What We Need

Our needs vary widely. Most items that could be considered gifts for kids or teens will probably find a home. However, there are some items we always need, and some items we don’t accept. Here is a comprehensive list of items we need every year:


New or clean & very-gently used items in good repair for infants through teenagers:

  • Toys of all kinds and varieties, including “big kid” toys
  • Board Games, Playing Cards and Puzzles
  • Books for infants through teens in all genres appropriate for up to age 18
  • Coloring Books, Stickers, Art Supplies, Sewing/Knitting Supplies
  • Electronics such as MP3 players, cameras, remote-control devices and DVD players
  • Music CDs in all genres appropriate for up to age 18
  • Movie and TV DVDs (no VHS please) in all genres appropriate for up to age 18
  • Gaming Systems & Games
    • Consoles: Xbox 360, Wii, Playstation 2 & 3
    • Handhelds: Nintendo DS, Playstation Portable, Game King
    • Preschoolers: Tag Junior, Leapster, Leap Pad, MobiGo, V.Reader
    • Tablets and Devices: iPods, iPads, Kindles
  • Perfume, Makeup & Toiletries for both males & females
  • Jewelry & Accessories (Hair, Hats, Scarves, Gloves, Bags)
  • Sporting equipment and memorabilia (Hats, Shirts, Sweaters, Posters & Cards, Scooters, Skateboards, Bikes, Balls, Bats, Sticks & Mitts)
  • Stuffed Animals
  • Stocking Stuffers
  • Other novelty or gift items
  • Packets of Tea, Hot Chocolate and/or Coffee
  • Candy Canes or other holiday candy
  • Individually-wrapped popcorn, chips, fruit snacks or other snack items


We are also always in need of items that aid us in our re-gifting efforts:

  • Coffee Mugs and Tea Cups
  • Small Treat Bags
  • Stockings
  • Wrapping Paper, Tissue Paper
  • Assorted size Boxes, Bags and Baskets
  • Tape, Tags, Labels and Bows
  • Gift certificates to local grocery or general merchandise stores (Target, Meijer, Walmart) to give as family gifts or to buy supplies with

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Items Not Accepted

Due to our limited resources, there are unfortunately some items we cannot accept. In addition, donations are inspected thoroughly before being “re-gifted,” and those that do not meet our criteria will be passed along (see our Donation Policy). Here is a list of items we do not accept:

  • Furniture or bedding (small blankets or pillows are acceptable)
  • Money of any kind (gift certificates to general merchandise stores are a great alternative)
  • VHS or Cassette Tapes
  • Video gaming consoles or games released prior to 2005
  • Books or Supplies that are ripped, torn, written in, missing pages or dirty
  • Toys, Games or other items that are broken, missing pieces or in disrepair
  • Stuffed animals that are ripped, dirty or have been exposed to animals, cigarette smoke or insects
  • Electronics that are broken or not functioning correctly
  • Clothing for any age, except for those mentioned above (hats, scarves, gloves or sporting apparel)
  • Food of any kind, except for those mentioned above (candy, candy canes, hot chocolate, tea and coffee packets, snack items – must be individually wrapped and not past expiration dates)
  • Any items inappropriate for people under 18

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Our Donation Policy

The Washtenaw Elves appreciate all offers to donate or help. Our goal is to give each child a happier holiday season. Because of that, we are very picky about those items that are “re-gifted.” We do not want any child being unhappy with their gifts, or unwrapping something that has been obviously “well-loved.”

What kind of quality are we looking for?

The donations we “re-gift” are in new or like new condition. We ask that you donate only those items that you would feel comfortable wrapping up, putting under the tree and re-gifting yourself. Please use your judgment, and do not give us items that are:

  • Dirty, soiled or stained
  • Broken, ripped or torn
  • Missing pieces or parts
  • Electronically malfunctioning
  • Expired, open or partially used (food and toiletries)

In addition, we ask also that you do not donate items that are on our Not Accepted list, have undergone a recall, or have been exposed to harmful substances, bacteria (such as lice or bedbugs), insects or cigarette smoke. We also ask that you ensure that all your donations are yours to give.

How can I clean my gifts before donating?

Our elves work hard to inspect and repackage every donation we receive, and we need help from our donators to ensure the quality of our items. Please inspect your items before donating to make sure they meet our standards and prepare them for re-gifting by cleaning them to avoid the spreading of germs. Some cleaning choices include:

  • Wiping books and toys with a mild sanitizer such as Lysol wipes
  • Washing stuffed animals in hot water with mild soap and brushing their fur
  • Placing baby toys in a dishwasher on high heat to sanitize

What if my gifts are not up to standard?

For donations that are given to us and do not meet our standards, one of the following may apply:

  • If functioning, but not ‘like new,’ it may be further donated to Goodwill, the Salvation Army or similar
  • If broken, ripped or dirty, it may be thrown away or recycled
  • If in good condition but not re-gifted, it may be sold on consignment to raise funds for our efforts next year

What if I’m not sure about my donations?

If you have any questions about our donation policy, or the quality or substance of your donations, please feel free to email us at
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