Reuse: Splash Toy Shop

2 06 2013

Finding a place to donate used toys when it’s not Christmas is harder than you think.

After a whole bunch of searching online, I came across two places that accepted toys. The first was BC Children’s Hospital, which had a long list of toys they accept, none of which I actually had, except for many, many decks of playing cards. The other one was a little toy shop on Dunbar called Splash Toy Shop. The only info I found was on a forum somewhere a random Vancouverite suggested donating old toys to the store. What was especially appealing about donating to Splash was that apparently, an organization called the Sisters of Charity took the donated the toys and then handed them out to families in the downtown Eastside.  However, the toy store’s website itself didn’t have any info. I sent the store an email about donations, and they replied with the following:

Thanks for your interest in donating toys!  We collect donations at our Dunbar St location and they are now distributed directly to the Ray Cam Community Center and they distribute them to the community. The Sisters of Charity also worked directly with the community, but they have since closed their Vancouver chapter.

We accept gently used toys and clothing.

Awesome, right?

In my donation bag, I put a couple Kinder surprise toys, a pair of kid’s binoculars, a small puzzle for kids (that a friend gave me for a birthday present when I was in high school…?), a whole bunch of decks of cards (some of which were unopened), and my coveted fan/card educational book thing about 50 or so breeds of dogs. I got that from an aunt when I was young and loved dogs and I loved reading it. I wasn’t sure if that counted as a toy or not, but I figured that some kid out there would really appreciate it all the same.

There’s a big donation bin outside of the store where people can drop off their items. The only thing is that it’s an open wooden box, and my bag was small reusable bag that I couldn’t really close, so I ended up putting the two other bags on top of mine so people wouldn’t be tempted to take my wonderful toys.

Anyway, I hope some kid(s) in Vancouver are now enjoying all the toys I donated. They better!

Splash Toy Shop
Address: 4243 Dunbar Street
– Store hours: Mon – Sat: 9:30am-6:00pm, Sun: 10:00am-6:00pm
– Phone: 604-228-869


Reuse: Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre

29 05 2013

Reduce, reuse, recycle. A great motto to live by.

Recycling is fairly easy and straightforward, especially when there are lots of places around Vancouver to do so, but about reusing? Where do you go with items that can reused and not resold, like the Salvation Army or Value Village? Where can you donate your items for a good cause?

For the past few days, I’ve been going around and donating some stuff I no longer need to various organizations and charities around Vancouver. I should have been making a list of resources of my progress– but it’s never too late!

Last week, I went through my bathroom and found some toiletries– travel-sized toothpaste, some opened lotions/moisturizers, and a bottle of unopened hair gel– that I wouldn’t be using. I scoured the Internet to find a place that might accept toiletries, and many people suggested women’s shelters (in general, not specific to Vancouver). That’s how I found the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, located at 302 Columbia Street (by Cordova, downtown Vancouver).

They have a wishlist of donations they are always accepting. Here is their list, taken from their website (

  • arts and craft supplies
  • used DVDs
  • used women’s clothing
  • linens and towels
  • socks and underwear (new or gently used)
  • footwear
  • coats and rain-gear
  • toiletries (travel-sized shampoo and conditioner, new soap, toothpaste and brushes, hand cream and makeup)
  • picture frames
  • chalk
  • gardening supplies
  • mason jars
  • button maker
  • alcohol wipes
  • hand sanitizer pump dispensers
  • craft supplies: beading supplies, knitting needles and yarn, plain vests for sewing regalia
  • usb/flashdrive’s
  • reading glasses
  • menstrual pads

It doesn’t say explicitly, but it’s implied that the shelter doesn’t take opened cosmetics/lotions, and when I contacted them if they might accept the unopened hair gel, they didn’t respond (I ended up putting it in the bag anyway, since I don’t see why they wouldn’t accept it). I did find a whole bunch of photo frames in my garage that were hardly used (and two small ones that had never been used), which I gladly put in my donation bag. As well, I went through my DVD collection, and picked a whole bunch of films that I would probably no longer watch. Sure, I could have posted an ad on craigslist to sell them, but everyone’s selling DVDs nowadays that I likely wouldn’t have been able to get rid of them. And anyway, the money is not what’s important in this case.

IMPORTANT! (if you are a man): A young lady who was also going in held the door for me. When I was inside, a woman who worked there asked me if she could help me, and I replied that I had some items I wanted to donate. She informed me that since I was a man, I was supposed to ring the bell and wait for someone to come and talk to me, not walk right in. Immediately, I apologized, as I could see why this might be a necessary precaution. There was nothing on the DEWC’s website that mentioned anything about that, so I had no idea.

So if you happen to be a man and are looking to go down to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre to donate some items — ring the bell!

In summary, here are the deets:

Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre
Address: 302 Columbia Street (by Cordova); ring the bell if you are a man.
– Donations are accepted between 9am – 5pm. Avoid dropping off items between 12:30pm -1:45pm as staff are on their lunch breaks.
– Have an item but not sure if it’s appropriate to be donated? Give them a call! 604-681-8480, extension 226, or email them at


Donating cupcakes to street kids

29 11 2012

I have to go to bed because I’m quite tired and my last day of classes is tomorrow (thank god), but I just wanted to say that I used a groupon for six cupcakes (yes, they have cupcakes now) yesterday.  Then I proceeded to give them to a group of young street kids.  They were quite happy to get cupcakes (who doesn’t like cupcakes?) and I’m glad I did that.  It wasn’t even about doing the right thing — it just seemed like I should do it, that it was naturally what I should do with it.  No doubt whatsoever.

Anyway, I have an idea for fundraising this month, but I need to get school out of the way first.  Ciao.