Donate your beanie babies to a good cause!

These are just a few of the beanie babies from my mom’s collection. I don’t know when she started buying these things, but part of the frenzy was the idea that they were supposedly going to be collector’s items. Flash forward ten or so years, and they’re selling for about a buck apiece on ebay. But through four moves this decade, my mother has carted around her box of beanie babies, and without any grandchildren to bestow them upon, they grew very lonely in their box with no one to play with.

I finally convinced her to part with her collection by dangling the carrot of donation. And not just any donation, a donation to the troops! How does that work? Operation Gratitude is an organization that puts together care packages for soldiers stationed overseas. And according to their website, the most-needed and requested items are hand-written personal letters, and beanie babies. Why beanie babies? I hope you have a tissue handy, because apparently they love to receive the stuffed toys because they give them to local children to gain their trust so they’ll tell them where IEDs are hidden. Your old toys might save a life!

Here’s a quote from a letter the organization received from a Marine: “I live with 17 Marines and Sailors in one room. Everyone got a package and everyone loved it especially the cookies and beanie babies. The cookies are excellent and the beanie babies help us out a lot with the local kids. We give them candy and toys and they give us the location for IED’s. Once again, thank you for everything and for all the hard work that you put into the package.”

I’m going to my friend’s 2nd grade class to do a letter-writing project as well. If you have beanie babies or other stuffed toys to donate, or you want to write a letter or make a scarf to be included in a care package to a soldier, click here to find out more information.

It’s hard to part with these things, they really are cute. But it’s a lot easier knowing that they might end up the beloved toy of a child halfway around the world who lives with more violence and stress than any child should ever have to deal with. Consider it a case of kind and conscious decluttering.

Have you ever collected beanie babies? Wondering what to do with your old collections? Please share in the Comments section.


  1. Susanna says

    I collected beanie babies – was nuts about the things but could not kick myself for what I spent on them! I had most of mine in a couple of big boxes in the closet after I moved in 2000 – last year I was getting new carpet and stuff had to come off all the floors including the closets – I called around and finally a local police department suggested the women’s shelter so I called and they were happy to get them. I took 4 huge garbage bags full by their thrift store (they wont’ give out the shelter’s address) and they said they give them to the kids when they arrive. I used garbage bags because they were handy but the beanies were clean LOL!

    I hadn’t thought about the troops but I may post this info on facebook since a cousin was looking for a place to donate some stuffed animals and her local shelter wasn’t needing them at the time.

    • Angela says

      Susanna, I’m sure the kids at the shelter appreciated the beanies. I wonder how many of them are living in boxes in closets and garages all over the country? Millions?

      Thanks for commenting.

  2. says

    OMG I am worse than your mom!! I’ve carted around my sons stuffed animals from when he was a baby for 19 years now. Some of them even have names! You’ve inspired me to donate them to a good cause.
    Tell your mom hi for me!

    • Angela says

      Hi Katie! I used to think my mom was nuts, but these things really are cute. BTW, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saving a couple of your son’s toys. I still have my two favorite stuffed animals from childhood, and we also have my dad’s old teddy bear. It’s pretty smelly. :) Thanks for commenting!

  3. Lindsie says

    Thanks for the info! I passed all of mine down to my daughter but will be spring cleaning her room soon. I don’t know how we get so many stuffed animals!

    • Angela says

      Lindsie, You’re welcome, and apparently it’s easy to end up with tons of stuffed animals. Thanks for your comment and I hope a few of yours will be traveling soon. :)

  4. Jennifer says

    Having some what socially conscious children- this may be the ticket to clean out an old playpen full of beanie babies :)

    • Angela says

      Jennifer- If you go to the website, there are a lot of letters from the soldiers. It would be a great learning experience for your children, and knowing how generous children are, I’m sure they would want to send off their beanie babies. I’m a saver, but not a hoarder, and in my experience what works is to pick out one or two favorites to save – from any collection or items that have gotten out of hand.

      thanks for commenting!

  5. says

    This is wonderful. Though it does make me a little sad that children have to be drawn in by bribing to be war informants. Such is the state of things, I suppose.

    • Angela says

      Steph- It’s heartbreaking! George actually got teary-eyed when I told him. It boggles the mind really.

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