When LEGO fans need to downsize their collection due to running out of space, moving to a different location, or other life changes, they usually consider either selling the extra LEGO they no longer want, or give it away. If you are in this situation I wanted to bring your attention to a charity project in Kansas City that will make sure your used LEGO goes for a good cause. The Giving Brick reconstructs and repackages LEGO sets, and donates them to children in foster care. The founder and director of the project, Matthew Gould, gave us details on this inspiring endeavor you can read below. 🙂
LEGO is the most recognizable toy brand in the world. LEGO offers kids and adults limitless possibilities for imaginative play, cooperation, problem-solving, and creativity. Everyone agrees ‘LEGO is Awesome’!
Despite all its possibilities and benefits, the little bricks remain out of reach for many kids. LEGO is a high-quality toy and new LEGO sets can be expensive. Many of our community’s neediest, most-deserving kids don’t get the opportunity to own LEGO sets of their own.
Luckily, there is a group in Kansas City that aims to change that. The Giving Brick is a nonprofit corporation based in Kansas that provides LEGO sets to needy kids. The Giving Brick has partnered with local CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) offices to distribute high-quality LEGO sets to children that have been abused or neglected. Started in 2014, The Giving Brick recycles previously-loved LEGO back into LEGO sets. They collect, clean, sort, and package used LEGO bricks into new gift boxes. “Each gift box is a complete LEGO set,” explains Matthew Gould, Founder and Executive Director. “We rebuild models based on retail LEGO sets and include reprinted instructions for building.”
Matthew and his family donated all the pieces for the pilot year and in December 2014 they gifted 10 boxed sets – almost 10,000 pieces. “We wanted to give our LEGO sets to kids who had little else to call their own and needed an escape from the challenges life was throwing at them. We knew CASA could help.” With their help The Giving Brick LEGO sets made wonderful Christmas gifts for 9 kids in the Jackson County, Missouri foster care system.
One set was such a huge hit with a 12-year old boy, new to the system and alone in an institutional setting, that he got a second one. “We heard his second set was missing a piece, but by the time we connected with his CASA volunteer to replace the piece, he had already started building his own creations; which is the whole point.”
The Giving Brick hopes to collect enough LEGO in 2015 to gift 25 boxed sets – each over 400 pieces – for the holiday season. “There are over 1,500 kids in the foster care system in Jackson County alone; if we collect enough LEGO we can help lots of kids,” says Matthew, as he talks about his plans for the future. “We hope to grow large enough to help many more kids during the holidays, and to also give smaller gift sets for birthdays or ‘rainy-day’ gifts. There are enough LEGO bricks already on the planet to give every kid in the world over 200 pieces, and LEGO makes billions more each year. With so much LEGO in the world, we are hopeful generous donors will come forward and donate LEGO to kids who otherwise would go without.”
The Giving Brick accepts donations of used LEGO in any condition. They also accept direct donations, which are used to buy missing pieces from used-bricks sellers. “Sometimes a set is missing a handful of rare bricks and we try to buy used from BrickLink sellers to complete the sets.” The Giving Brick is in the process of filing for federal tax-exempt status right now, and expects to be a 501(c)(3) public corporation later this year.
If you have excess LEGO and feel inspired to help out with this project, or would like more information, you can visit The Giving Brick at their website TheGivingBrick.org. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and other social-media platforms to see how their projects are going. And if you have any questions for Matthew, you can also ask them in the comment section below. I will make sure he sees them. 😉
Really nice project for a noble cause, although it also sounds quite time consuming to put together all those alternate sets. But I guess you can mix charity with play, so its all good at the end.
Apparently the team is using the site Rebrickable to see what could be constructed with the parts, possibly in alternative colors. Still requires some work and tampering with downloaded manuals, though…
Yeah, Rebrickable is great for stuff like this! I really should write an article about them as they are offering a very helpful service. Plus it is integrated into Brickset, which makes it even more useful.
Funny, I just spent an hour utilizing that function of being integrated with Brickset. As the new set inventories have not been updated for Brickset (I have no idea why), I just today found I could use Rebrickable to find the part names, images, etc. Super helpful! 🙂
Maybe you want to write an article about it? 😉
@jabber-baby-wocky, thanks for the kind words, it does take time and as you said it, is really fun too!
I’ll see what I have to donate. Does it matter on what kind of LEGO theme or can it be just about anything .
@legostuff71 – thanks! we will take anything: any theme, any type of LEGO brick, any usable condition. Thanks so much, you can find out more information and contact us for shipping details through our website – http://www.thegivingbrick.org.
What a fab idea. There are similar schemes in the UK but nowhere as organised – I belive they just package loose bricks into bundles rather than making alternate sets
This is really a really kind idea. I thank you for doing this as a unique charity. 🙂
@Tom – we have seen similar groups in the US too; we like making them into sets, after all, this is how LEGO sells them.
@LegoUniverse Bob, thanks!
I just took it a step further. I passed the word along to the LEGO customer service and told them about the program and were I got it from . The person I was talking to thought It was an excellent Idea and said they will tell other people. On a personal note, LEGO has been very helpful for me , with health problems and a not being able to work anymore. I needed something to do with my life and LEGO was it .
@legostuff71 – WOW, thanks for the share! We really appreciate your support and wish you all the best with you health. Keeping LEGO’ing…
we have hundreds of Legos and bionicle parts that we would like to donate. Our son no longer wants them.
Would you take them if we ship them to you.
Richard, I would suggest you contact The Giving Brick directly. I’m not sure if they still check comments here.
My Name is Jason Hurla I work for the Jackson County Family Court in Residential Services. I would like to meet with you to see if we could be of some assistances with clean and sorting blocks and making new set.
Please Contact Me at 816-286-9742 or 816-435-7030
Joshua, I suggest you contact The Giving Brick directly: http://thegivingbrick.org/index.html