Where to Donate: A Handy Guide

Bernie's Book Bank

Updated Nov. 21, 2018

Ready to get organized and rid your home of the clutter? Whether you’re cleaning out your closet or bookshelf or updating your furniture, don’t just toss those items — donate them and make a difference to one of the many local organizations in need. Here’s our guide to where to donate throughout the North Shore and Chicago.


Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

Consider giving toys to patients at Lurie Children’s. Due to health concerns, Lurie can only accept new, recently purchased toys and games for children of all ages.

Beacon Place

Beacon Place is a community center in southeast Waukegan with programs for kids and adults that allow them to see a path toward their own brighter tomorrow by building the life skills they need, to achieve the dreams that they want. 603 S. McAlister Ave., Waukegan

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities of Lake County hosts an annual Christmas giving program where they provide presents to more than 10,000 people, mostly children. Catholic Charities can match you with a family and their wish list. 671 S. Lewis, Waukegan

Fill a Heart 4 Kids

Fill a Heart 4 Kids’ mission is to help vulnerable homeless youth and foster children living in institutions to feel loved and remembered through a special gift-giving program. 400 E. Illinois Road, Lake Forest


Hillside Food Pantry

You may donate shelf-stable, canned, and/or packaged food items to this Evanston food pantry. Check out their website for a current list of items the food pantry seeks. 2727 Crawford Ave., Evanston

Midwest Veterans Closet

It’s Veteran’s Day everyday at Midwest Veterans Closet, a not-for-profit charity located in North Chicago that betters the lives of veterans by providing free clothing, household items, furniture, food, housing as available, and employment assistance. 2323 Green Bay Road, North Chicago

Northern Illinois Food Bank

Northern Illinois Food Bank is the source of nutritious food, innovative feeding programs, and hope for more than 71,000 people each week. As a nonprofit organization with a goal of solving hunger in their 13-county service area, they rely on community partners such as local food pantries and feeding programs, food manufacturers and retailers, companies, foundations, and individuals to join them so no one is hungry in northern Illinois. Visit their website for tips and tools for hosting a food drive in your area. 273 Dearborn Court, Geneva

Clothing & Accessories

North Shore Exchange

Best of 2017 winner North Shore Exchange, which is made possible by the Woman’s Library Club of Glencoe, supports charities that provide human services and education to low-income families in the Midwest. Appointments are not required for donations. Visit their website to view an accepted list of designers. 372 Hazel Ave., Glencoe

NCJW’s Encore & More

Encore & More is the National Council of Jewish Women’s major fundraiser; they are in need of donations of high-end clothing and jewelry. Donations are accepted Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 1107 Central Ave., Wilmette

Second Time Around Thrift & Gift Shop

With all proceeds benefiting Shore Community Services to improve the quality of life for those with developmental disabilities, Second Time Around accepts gently used clothing, shoes, accessories and more. Call the store before visiting to ensure they are accepting donations that day. 4123 Oakton Ave., Skokie

Evanston School Children’s Clothing Association

Cleaning out the kids’ closets? ESCCA provides school clothing and shoes to Evanston/Skokie District 65 K-8th grade school children. They accept clean and gently used children’s clothing and coats. Donations are accepted all year. 1500 McDaniel Ave., Evanston

LensCrafters OneSight

OneSight, which was founded in 1988, provides vision care to more than 8.7 million people in 41 countries. With school-based vision centers, charitable vision clinics and community vision centers, OneSight helps communities in need all over the world. Eyewear donations can be dropped off at LensCrafters, Sears Optical or Pearle Vision stores. Various locations in the city and suburbs

WCC Rummage

Winnetka Community House’s annual Spring Rummage Sale donates all net proceeds to more than 40 humanitarian agencies in the Chicagoland area. Donate new or gently used kids and adult clothing, shoes, accessories, jewelry and more. 630 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka

Dress for Success Chicago

Gently used suits and professional apparel donations allow Dress for Success to provide interview outfits for women, supporting them in their efforts to achieve their career goals. The program also offers guidance and support for women who have an upcoming interview. Donations must be clean and ironed, and no more than five years old. 515 N. State St. #3240, Chicago

Chicago Bears Coat Drive

For 27 years, the coat drive has provided coats to those in need during the cold winter months. Coats can be donated at all Jewel-Osco locations in the Chicagoland area beginning in October. Various Jewel-Osco locations

Junior League of Evanston-North Shore Thrift House

Drop off clothes, shoes and accessories, as well as small furniture, home decor, house wares and books, at the JLE-NS Thrift House Monday through Saturday. Find more information and hours here920 Chicago Ave., Evanston 

The Resale Shop of Glenview Community Church

Donate clothes and household merchandise (furniture is not accepted) during The Resale Shop’s open hours: Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Resale Shop is closed during the summer, Thanksgiving week, Christmas week, New Year’s week, and Holy week. 1000 Elm St., Glenview


Recycling for Charities

Donate used cell phones, iPods, digital cameras and PDAs by printing the shipping label from the website and sending donations to RFC. RFC makes a donation to the charity of your choice for each item you part with.

Zealous Good

Fill out a form on the website specifying what you would like to donate, and Zealous Good will reach out to charities that are interested in your item. You will then receive an email where you can choose a charity and drop off your donations. 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago

Cell Phones for Soldiers

Donate your used cell phone or tablet to Cell Phones for Soldiers, a nonprofit supported by AT&T that provides troops and veterans with communication services. Gently used items from all wireless carriers and brands are accepted. Device donation and shipping costs are tax-deductible. Print a shipping label from the organization’s website.

Secure the Call

Secure the Call collects cell phones, turns them into 911 emergency access phones and donates them to senior citizen centers, domestic violence shelters and police and sheriff departments. Visit the website for various drop-off locations in the Chicagoland area. Various drop-off locations

Verizon Wireless HopeLine

Similar to Secure the Call, Verizon provides cell phones for domestic violence victims. Used phones, batteries and accessories are accepted. Drop off your phone at any Verizon Wireless store. Various locations


Donate at your local public library! Call ahead to see if there are any books they don’t accept (like textbooks).


Donate gently used books to Books4Cause, an organization that, through used book donations, has created 20 libraries in Africa, and keeps books out of landfills. All K-12 books given to the organization are donated, and 13 percent of other book donations are sold while the rest are given away or recycled. Drop them off at their Chicago location in Skokie, or donate $25 to the African Library Project to qualify for a full-service book pickup. 3415 Madison St., Skokie

Bernie’s Book Bank

Bernie’s Book Bank collects new and gently used children’s books to distribute to at-risk homes throughout the Chicagoland area. Each child the organization serves receives at least 12 books a year. There are drop-off locations throughout the North Shore. Various drop-off locations

Chicago BWP

This volunteer organization distributes paperback books to women’s prisons nationwide to encourage education and self-empowerment. Visit the website for specific books BWP is looking for. You can either drop books off at the Chicago location or send them via USPS. 4511 N. Hermitage Ave., Chicago

Open Books

Open Books collects used books to sell in their Pilsen and West Loop stores and online. The money collected helps fund book granting programs for thousands of students around Chicago each year. The organization accepts “any sellable book in good condition,” as well as LPs, CDs and DVDs. There are various drop-off locations in Chicago, including one in Northbrook. To inquire about a free pickup, fill out the form on the Open Books website. Various drop-off locations

Cradles to Crayons

Providing low-income and homeless children with clothes, books, school supplies and more, Cradles to Crayons helps serve nearly 200,000 children living in poverty in Chicago. Visit their website for a list of drop-off locations throughout the North Shore. Various drop-off locations

Turning the Page

Turning the Page Chicago works with elementary schools in North Lawndale to provide after-school family engagement and literacy programs. The organization runs two pop-up Carpe Librum bookstores, where the proceeds from sales of books, CDs, DVDs, and vinyl records go to support these programs. Learn more about how to donate books and other items on the organization’s website. 108 N. State St., Chicago; 100 W. Randolph St., Chicago


Salvation Army and Goodwill

Both provide pickup service and provide you with a tax receipt. Visit each organization’s website or call to schedule a pickup time. Various locations

Village Treasure House

All proceeds from this Northbrook nonprofit support 17 local agencies serving women and families in crisis. Small furniture items can be dropped off during business hours, and larger items must be previewed before donating. Village Treasure House pays for transportation of the donated furniture. Visit their website for merchandise guidelines. 1460 Paddock Drive, Northbrook

Brown Elephant Resale Shops

Brown Elephant supports Howard Brown Health using money earned from the resale of donated items. Bring in any upholstered furniture, tables, dressers, bookcases, etc. Visit their website for a full list of accepted items, as well as a pickup request form. Note: pickup service has a suggested donation of $10. 4025 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago

Habitat for Humanity ReStore

All proceeds from the ReStore go to Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that works to provide families with affordable, safe housing and has built 90 homes in Chicago neighborhoods. Visit their website for a list of acceptable items. To donate, fill out the form on the website or send pictures of the items to [email protected] 6040 N. Pulaski Road, Chicago

World Relief Chicago

World Relief Chicago provides cleaning supplies, linens, toiletries, kitchen items, furniture and more to immigrants and refugees who have fled their countries due to war and displacement. Visit their website to inquire about a drop-off or pickup. 3507 W. Lawrence, Chicago


By providing opportunities and goods, RefugeeOne helps refugees fleeing war and persecution from all parts of the world. The organization is currently accepting backpacks and school supplies, but donation needs vary by month. View the calendar of donations here. Contact Amy Hill at [email protected] for more information. 4753 N. Broadway St. #401, Chicago

Hadassah Resale Shop

With proceeds benefiting Hadassah Medical Organization, Hadassah Resale Shop accepts clothing and furniture. Call the store to arrange a furniture pick up time, with no additional charge. 405 Lake Cook Road, Deerfield


If you’d like to make a charitable donation on someone’s behalf but would like your recipient to be able to choose the charity, charitygiftcertificates.org is the source for you. With more than 1,000 charities to choose from, this is truly a gift that will keep on giving.

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