Children’s National accepts books, toys, clothing, gift cards, and other non-medical items for our Dr. Bear’s Closet. These donations are given to patients and family members during their hospital visit to provide comfort, offer distractions, and to normalize the hospital setting. The toys make a big difference to the thousands of patients who come through our outpatient clinics, inpatient units, Emergency Department, and Regional Outpatient Centers. Donated toys also allow us to stock our playrooms and provide gifts for birthdays and holidays.
Donation drives are a great way for students or adults to work alone or with their school/community to raise money or in-kind donations that directly support the patients at Children’s National.
Below you can find a list of our most commonly needed items, along with instructions for dropping off donations. Please note that our highest needs are for infants (ages 0-2) and adolescents and young adults (ages 13 and older).
Immediate Needs (all items need to be brand new and seasonally appropriate)
- Art and craft kits for all ages, including teenagers
- Comfortable clothing for all ages (especially underwear and pants with elastic waists)
- Monetary donations to run an off-site apartment (giving.childrensnational.org/drbearscloset)
- Gift cards (especially for grocery stores, Target, area hotels, gas stations, and American Express/Visa)
- Infant toys (especially toys that light up or make noise)
- Lego sets for all ages
- Plastic crib mobiles/soothers
- Small stuffed animals
- Uno cards
Ongoing Needs (all items need to be brand new and in-season)
- AA Batteries
- Android and iPhone 4 and 5 chargers
- Baby dolls
- Board games
- Coloring books, journals, sketch pads, and word searches
- Event tickets (e.g. sporting event, concert, or performance tickets)
- Gimp / lanyard
- iPads or iPad minis
- Matchbox cars
- Personal care kits (i.e. toothbrush, toothpaste, travel size shampoo, conditioner, lotion, deodorant, etc.)
- Portable DVD players and teen movies
- Stuffed animals
- Regular playing cards
- Video game systems, controllers, and video games (especially X-Box, Wii, and hand-held video games)
Items that we cannot accept
- Beanie babies
- Breakable items, porcelain, glass, handmade wooden toys, or collectable items
- Get-well cards (cards must be void of religious, political, and violent content and should avoid terms like get well or feel better — instead use terms like “Sending you Smiles” or “You Rock”)
- Items that are gift-wrapped (all items need to be checked for appropriateness before giving to a patient)
- Items that have been exposed to smoke or other strong scents
- Latex balloons or anything containing latex
- Medical equipment
- Stuffed toys more than 18 inches tall
- Toys, books, or movies with sensitive issues (e.g. violence, politics, holidays, religion, death, divorce, weapons, etc.)
- Used items
Children’s Volunteer Services team accepts monetary donations that are used for unexpected needs for patients and families that are not a part of the operational budget, including clothing, blankets, hotel stays, support of an apartment for out-of-town families (Dr. Bear’s Den), parking vouchers, transportation to and from the hospital, and additional items for Dr. Bear’s Closet when needed.
Please make checks payable to “Children’s National Health System/Dr. Bear’s Closet,” or donate online at giving.childrensnational.org/drbearscloset.
Donate through our online wish list at childsplaycharity.org. This website has a direct link to our online Amazon.com wish list under the “Donate” tab. You can also search for Child’s Play Charity — DC under “Find someone’s Wish List” on Amazon.com.
Drop-Off Location and Hours
Items that fit the criteria above can be dropped off or mailed to the Volunteer Services office at 111 Michigan Avenue NW, Suite 1180, Washington, DC 20010. Drop-off hours are from 10am to 12pm and 3 to 6pm, Monday through Friday, and 11am to 3pm on the weekends. Please pull into our drop off zone in our parking garage — you are safe to leave your car parked and locked in this area while you bring your items to the Volunteer Services office on the first floor. Unfortunately, we do not have the staff available to pick up donations. For confidentiality and infection control purposes, donors are not able to deliver gifts directly to patients.
You will receive a delivery confirmation slip at the time of delivery and a thank you letter in the mail.
Thanks in advance for your donation!