Frugal Charity: Barbies for the Underprivileged

Because every girl deserves to be a Barbie girl!
Because every girl deserves to be a Barbie girl!

Why Barbie?

I admit, it's not an original idea. However, the idea was planted in my brain after I sat with my daughter as she went through her Barbie doll collection. Not only did she have ones of her own, but also my old dolls that I had had from the time I was her age. We had talked about retiring a few of them that she doesn't like. And it got me to thinking, does Mattel have any sort of charity for girls to be part of? Or are there any Barbie doll-lovers out there who created charitable groups? With that in mind, I decided to check online to see what information I could find about charities surrounding the famous Barbie Doll. What I did discover was that there are several groups around the U.S. and abroad that are focused on finding gently used Barbies that they donate to girls from needy families. What I did not find was a group that does this in my geographical area. Therefore, I decided that since my daughter and I love Barbie dolls so much, we could do the same thing in our city. Not only would we have fun working together as a team, but I would be teaching her compassion and selflessness in a unique and engaging way.

Seeing a Need, Filling a Need

What struck me about the other Barbie groups out there is that they all do more than just donate any old doll. Each doll is carefully groomed, dressed, and accessorized, then put into a draw-string bag that serves as a gift bag as well as a travel tote to store Barbie in for play on-the-go. What little girl wouldn't love that?

Of course, there are tons of new dolls to be bought. Every major holiday season is proof of this. But there are usually the same number of used dolls and other toys in thrift stores at rummage and garage sales, which will inevitably be donated or thrown out. What's the harm, then, in buying or rescuing used Barbies who can be spruced-up and presented to eager children to love? There's no packaging to fight with (or those annoying twist ties and useless plastic tags that seem to never fully come out of the back of the doll's head!), you get to help save the environment, and you can put your creativity to work - by knitting, crocheting, or sewing clothing and various accessories.

No Wrong Way to Donate

Ultimately, there is no wrong way to donate something, other than ensuring that what you are donating is in serviceable condition and is not harmful to the recipient. If you find that this cause touches your heart, and you want to participate, you can do it on your own terms! Whether it's focusing on one aspect of what can go along with donating a Barbie, or buying a bunch of Barbies to distribute and leaving it at that...whatever you do selflessly will always be appreciated whether you end up seeing the results in person or not.

New Beginnings

In 2013, our group reached out to our local children's hospital, and as a result, we had to reshape how we donated. Not only was there the problem of donations needing to be NEW-IN-BOX items, but there were girls AND boys to ensure had presents. So, with a new focus in mind, we decided to donate Mattel toys - that way girls could have Barbie products, while boys could have things like cars and action figures made by the same company. As a result, over 20 gifts were presented to children for Christmas.

In 2015, we took on an even bigger venture! By partnering with Child Advocates Inc. for their annual Christmas toy drive, we collected donations of Mattel toys AND other brands for the foster kids in their system. Between all the groups who volunteered (and there were many more than just The Barbie Girls Project), we raised enough for 3,000 children! It impacted my group so much that not only do we want to continue our partnership with Child Advocates each year from now on, but we also have permanently changed our focus to donating toys to children from Mattel AND OTHER BRANDS as well as other types of donations, depending on the project, all in the spirit of what it means to be a Barbie girl.

Toy Nostalgia

As a Child, What Was Your Favorite Toy?

  • Cars and other vehicles (including remote control or collectibles)
  • Baby dolls
  • Barbie dolls (or other similar types) and accessories
  • Building toys
  • Electronic toys and games
  • Sporting goods
  • Science kits
  • Other (add a comment to specifiy)
See results without voting


Currently, I have a Twitter profile @Barbie_charity and a Facebook page "The Barbie Girls Project" and a website home of The Barbie Girls Project. I am happy to share instructions with anyone interested in helping out.

I also recommend reading about these other groups and ideas I was able to find while doing an Internet search:

Truly, any item you donate, no matter the toy, product, or service, can easily be turned into your passion or hobby. All it takes is your interest and time!

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Comments 1 comment

Donna 21 months ago

I have a box of old Barbies where can I donate them?

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