Elementary school teacher Mary DePerro didn’t want to see kids from low-income families miss out on holiday presents. So, she started GoodBye Toys Charity.
By Mary DePerro
I am a mother, a wife, an elementary school teacher and most recently, president and founder of a nonprofit, GoodBye Toys Charity, Inc.
As a little girl, I always knew I wanted to help people, which led me into the teaching profession. I am happy as a teacher, but a voice inside kept telling me I was meant to support more children and families each year. As a teacher, I watched children from low-income families struggle. Not having their basic needs met and coming to school ready to learn was a difficult feat.
These children were constantly confronted with thoughts no 8-year-old should have to endure…”Will I have dinner tonight? Does anyone notice I wore the same clothes to school? Will my mom find a job?” After the holidays, I watch these children sink lower in their chairs while listening to others rave about receiving electronics and new toys, whereas they received the realization that Santa had to skip their house again this year. I just couldn’t sit around any longer. Something had to be done to help these children have a better future. Last summer, I finally understood my purpose: to start GoodBye Toys Charity. With the support of my husband, we started this amazing journey.
The Beginning Stages
After much reflection, I realized that reaching out to all families would be beneficial. But what was something all families could do to help the community? That’s when a light bulb went on — sell their old children’s products! I created the website goodbyetoys.com, an online store where families can buy and sell new and used children’s, teens and maternity products.
When products are sold, profits can go to the seller, or the family can donate a portion to their school. In addition, a percentage of every sale goes to GoodBye Toys Charity. We believe this form of fundraising is a win-win: Families make money, your school makes money and education benefits! Plus, you get to declutter your child’s closet while impacting our youth, which is why our tagline is: “Where Saying GoodBye to the Old Today Gives Children a New Tomorrow.”
What else does GoodBye Toys Charity do?
As the charity was developing, it transformed from collecting donations through the website to so much more. We are dedicated to helping children and families succeed in school and in life by collecting and donating food, school supplies, toys and clothes. We couldn’t do it without our amazing volunteers. Our most recent victory was teaming up with HealthQuest Physical Therapy – Macomb West to stuff backpacks with school supplies and fill food and clothing baskets for two schools in Macomb County.
Watching how excited my fellow teachers and students were when we delivered the items was very rewarding. At that moment, I knew my purpose was being fulfilled, and my heart was beaming.
3 School Fundraising Options
With school funding declining, I wanted to create an avenue for schools to receive more funding, but I wanted the community to come together to do it. To accomplish this, I created three unique ways schools can fundraise to help all children have a new tomorrow.
Option 1: Buy/Sell on goodbyetoys.com
Schools can sign up for a fundraiser through our website. Families then sell and buy on goodbyetoys.com and profits go toward their school. Families sign up for a free Donation Membership and sell gently used or new items, including toys, clothing, décor, gifts and more. With a step-by-step guide and a short tutorial video, posting items is quick and easy.
Products being sold as donations are tagged with our angel wings icon. This notifies buyers that this item is being sold for a good cause!
Option 2: Donation Box
A donation box can be placed inside a school to collect new and gently used children items. GoodBye Toys Charity will pick up and post the items on goodbyetoys.com and proceeds go to your school. This is a quick way for busy families to donate.
Option 3: School Events
Since I wanted to do something fun and entertaining to get local businesses and the community involved, GoodBye Toys Charity plans and hosts school and district-wide events. We do everything from setting up to getting vendors, volunteers and sponsors. We share profits from ticket sales, raffles, auctions, etc. with the school. Local businesses can advertise, sponsor or donate items for events. It’s a great way for businesses to collaborate and help our schools. When the community gets involved, everyone wins, especially our children!
How to sign up?
Schools can sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. All schools need to do is send out flyers and we handle the rest!
What’s in our future?
GoodBye Toys Charity’s goal is to expand to help families throughout Michigan and eventually the United States.
We will be hosting a Toy Drive in November and December to give families a wonderful holiday season. We are also planning a family event in the spring to gather families together for a fun-filled night of giving and entertainment. We hope to give support to as many families as possible, so every child can have a new tomorrow.
Mary DePerro is the founder and president of GoodBye Toys Charity. She is a mother of two children — an almost 3-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy. She enjoys spending time with family, writing, planning events and teaching. She hopes to create a new tomorrow for our country, one child at a time.