YOTO’s NEW Mini Mall donation process during COVID-19

In an effort to keep YOTO students, staff, and YOU safe, please follow our new Mini Mall donation process below!

We’re so appreciative of everything our community has given to our students and we’re grateful for every effort at helping them. During this very challenging, changing, and unpredictable time, however, we’re asking folks to stick to a pretty tight protocol to make sure our kids get what they need most. Thank you in advance for your understanding!

      1. Review the list of items we are accepting below. You can also download, print, and share a flyer of these items here.

Because of COVID-19, students will not be able to go inside the Mini Mall for the foreseeable future. Instead, we are using a combination of prepackaged bags and online ordering to fill student requests. Consequently, it’s imperative that we stock the items our kids need most. That’s why we’re asking our YOTO Family members to stick to the items listed.


2. Tell us that you are planning to make a donation by emailing us at [email protected].

YOTO values the safety of all our family members, including our staff. Almost all of our staff members are working from home during this crisis, so we might not be ready for your donation if you don’t let us know it’s coming. We also want to help you make the most impactful donation possible; sometimes having a conversation about that is really helpful! Once you let us know about your donation plans, Rachel Pollack, our lovely Development & Marketing Coordinator, will connect with you to answer all of your questions.


3. Stay safe if you’re doing a donation drive.

When hosting a donation drive, we strongly encourage you to practice social/physical distancing and wear face masks when in proximity to others. Feel free to take pictures of donations and send them to Rachel if you’d like to share some of these joyful moments! You can view the CDC’s guidelines for staying safe here.


4. Drop off your donations by appointment only!

As you’ll already be in contact with Rachel, please arrange a time with her when you can come in and drop off your donations. For the foreseeable future, YOTO will only be accepting donations on MONDAYS. It’s important that you make an appointment because: 1) Our offices are not currently open to the public. We might not be there to accept your donation if you don’t make an appointment; 2) We value your safety and will be scheduling drop off times to minimize the number of people with whom you might come in contact when donating.

     5. Make your donation safely.

We’re encouraging folks to come as individuals or pairs to minimize contact at the Mini Mall. If you’re holding a donation drive, we ask that you collect items from participants at a central location (your home, your office, etc.) and then select one person to drop them off at YOTO. If you’d like to have more folks come for a photo opportunity, please let Rachel know. We are asking all folks to follow safety guidelines, even in photos. This means that masks will be required, as well as the requisite six foot distance between folks.

     6. If you want to go the extra mile…

Normally, our amazing YOTO volunteers organize and stock all our Mini Mall inventory. But again, because we love them and value their safety, we’ve asked them to stay home. As such, all the inventory work will be done by our staff. If you really want to be awesome, we’d ask you to sort your items based on like items (e.g. food together; hygiene items together; and household products together). This will save our staff lots of time!




Thank you so much for supporting YOTO youth during this challenging time!