Giving Old Toys a Second Chance

Well-loved kids’ teddy bears and other toys can still have love left to give.

Smiling girl holding a precious soft toy.

(Anna-Mari West /

Soft toys like teddy bears and dolls can be such a big part of a young child’s life. These toys allow a child’s imagination to run wild, provide endless hours of free play and can be a huge source of comfort when needed. When a child is done with their toy or has outgrown it, there are a few options as to what to do with it, and now there is one more option on the table for these fluffy toys: Charlotte Liebling founded Loved Before, an organization that adopts unwanted soft toys of any type and helps find them a new, happy home.

How it all began
Liebling had been volunteering at a charity shop when she noticed how many soft toys it was receiving, usually ending up as a pet’s chewing toy or even in the garbage can, explained Positive News. The organization’s goal is to change the perception of pre-owned toys and give them a new chance at life, maybe even allowing them to live forever. “We can show that instead of losing value, a toy once loved is made even more valuable by the love and life it has already experienced,” she says on the organization’s website.

Another chance to love
Giving away toys is common, and Good Housekeeping suggests lots of places such as hospitals, schools and charity organizations that accept toys as donations. There are also thrift stores and other shops selling secondhand goods that accept used toys. What sets Liebling’s organization apart is the rehabilitation process each soft toy goes through before being found a new home, and the importance she gives to the soft toy’s story.

Each toy goes through a “spa process” during which handlers are careful to maintain the “not- completely new” look, which would take away the charm and love that the toy has already experienced. The preloved toy then gets its picture taken before being displayed on the organization’s website and social media channels. Once bought, it is packaged in either recyclable or biodegradable packaging, and over 50% of profits go to charity.

Making a difference
Sustainability is an important value to Liebling and her organization. In fact, the Loved Before website states: “We believe there are enough soft toys in the world to never have to produce another again. We can challenge perceptions, rewrite the rules and change the industry forever."

The team believes that it is slowly but surely making a difference. According to a survey referenced by Teach & Kids Learn, an online platform for educators, 66 percent of American students are interested in learning about sustainability. So whether these students choose to recycle plastic bottles or their old and loved teddy bears, Loved Before, and the world will thank them for it.

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